Sharps safety devices – why is Australian use lower than USA?

Australian hospitals use less sharps safety devices than USA

Sharps injuries (SI) among Australian healthcare professionals (HCP) are three times that of USA.

The best way to reduce SI is to use safety engineered devices (SED). All Australian hospitals use SED – but to what extent?

To ascertain SED extent, you need to “dumpster dive” – you need look at sharps container contents. If Australian HCP are using less SED  it could be a contributing factor in the higher SI rate.

In my survey published online last week in Healthcare infection I examined the contents of 102 sharps containers from 27 hospitals in 5 Australian capital cities and found 30% of the 10,000 hollow-bore needles were SED.  A similar but smaller sampling in the U.S. revealed that 46% were SED.

The paper concludes a high proportion of Australian HCP are unnecessarily at risk of SI while handling sharps. Recommendations include more widespread SED evaluation and adoption (automatic and semi-automatic SED where feasible), repetitive competency training and safety-ownership. Legislation may be indicated.

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

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