WASHINGTON -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today a new tool to protect healthcare personnel from injuries caused by needlesticks and other sharp medical instruments. Such injuries can lead to diseases, such as hepatitis B and C and AIDS. These diseases may be caused when a healthcare worker is accidentally stuck by needles or other devices that are contaminated with the blood of an infected patient.
The CDC estimates that hospital workers sustain more than 1,000 injuries a day from contaminated needles and other sharp devices used during the delivery of patient care. CDC data suggest that at least 65 percent of these injuries are preventable by using safer devices and by taking appropriate safety measures.
The CDC workbook, titled "Sharps Safety: Be Sharp. Be Safe," promotes a comprehensive prevention program in the healthcare setting. A major goal is to heighten awareness among frontline healthcare personnel of specific steps they can take to protect themselves from sharps injuries.
"Protecting healthcare personnel is a CDC priority. Safer devices play an important role in preventing injuries to healthcare personnel, but they aren't the complete solution," said CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding. "We need to create a culture of safety in the work environment to make sure healthcare organizations promote and support sharps injury prevention.
The prevention program targets both healthcare administrators and frontline workers.
"The cost of these injuries to the healthcare system and to healthcare personnel can be extensive," said Dr. Denise Cardo, director of CDC's program to promote healthcare quality. "Treating a healthcare worker to prevent disease from a needlestick injury can cost $500 to $3,000. In addition, there can be huge emotional toll associated with the fear and anxiety about getting a life-threatening disease from a needlestick.
The CDC workbook, available to all healthcare facilities, provides a practical plan for preventing injuries from needlesticks and other sharp devices. Once implemented, the program should lead to improved workplace safety for healthcare personnel. In addition, the strategies should help healthcare facilities meet certain aspects of accrediting organization requirements as they apply to healthcare worker safety and federal and state regulatory standards.
For more information on CDC's Sharps Safety workbook go to: www.cdc.gov/sharpssafety
CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES