Sharps Injuries among Australian Healthcare Workers

Sharps Injuries are far too frequent among Australian healthcare workers (HWC)

Accidental sharps injuries (SI) via needles, sutures, etc, all carry a small but real risk of transmitting bloodborne diseases like HepB, HIV, etc., to the injured HCW.

In fact, Tarantola et al state there are 60 infectious diseases that can be transmitted by these injuries.

At the Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) 2016 conference, myself, Nicole Vaust and Jane Parker presented the results of a national survey we conducted among ACIPC members (with ACIPC and Ethics approval)

We asked members 9 questions on their institution’s 2014 occurrence of SI and mucocutaneous exposures (blood splashes to face, etc) – 307 hospitals from 6 states participated, making the survey one of largest in Australia – and we were surprised at the results.

Three out of every hundred HCW reported a sharps injury in 2014 (higher than USA rate); 51% of reported SI were nurses and 37% doctors; and 47% of all SI occurred during surgical procedures.

Extrapolating to Australia nationally, this means over 30,000 HCW sustain an SI annually – 80 per day!

Could it be that Australian HCW are not using safety engineered devices often enough? Or correctly?

What is clear is that this issue needs greater attention at state, perhaps federal legislative level – as it has in most developed countries.

click here for our poster

We will shortly submit our manuscript to the ACIPC Journal of Infection, Disease and Health – so watch this space.

Novel reusable-bin clinical waste system reduces cost, waste vol, labour and risk

Today I was pleased to see publication of the award-winning 3-year study from Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAH), Australia.

As a co-author with Fiona De Sousa and Diana Martin, we examined the impact of the Clinismart System on clinical waste (CW) management and risk.

The Clinismart System (SteriHealth Ltd Melbourne Australia) significantly reduced CW: costs 31%; volume 65%; mass 53%; hospital labour 69%; and reduced infection risk and staff sharps injury risk. Waste segregation was markedly enhanced and eliminated the many issues with the previous 240L wheelie bin system.

The System comprises a linerless purpose-engineered 64 litre reusable bin, mounted on a proprietary foot-pedal mobile stand. The system also includes a dedicated transport system for internal hospital transport and another for  external road transport. The bins are regularly collected by the contractor and subjected to a 6-stage high-level sanitization process before being returned for service.

The system’s design and operation, in reducing volumes, labour, costs and risk, improved the quality of health care delivery at SAH and enabled compliance with Healthcare Waste Guidelines. The System contributed to greater sustainability in that annually, 5,000 fewer large plastic liners for the 240L wheelie bins, were eliminated from landfill.

 Click here for access to Abstract and Author copy for this study