June 1, 2020
The number of sharps injuries incurred by health care workers in the U.S. and subsequent exposure to bloodborne pathogens decreased significantly since the revision of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard and the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act in the early 2000s. However, the notable decrease in sharps injuries in that first decade slowed in the 2010s. In response to the enduring need to further decrease sharps injuries, the International Safety Center last year released a consensus statement, Moving the Sharps Safety in Healthcare Agenda Forward in the United States: 2020 Consensus Statement and Call to Action.
According to the statement's executive summary, the document "provides data on rates of injury and circumstances surrounding sharps injuries, outlines the requirements of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, lists facility-based measures and controls for prevention of injury and exposure, and provides policy-based recommendations to protect healthcare workers today and into the future." The unique challenges of sharps injury prevention in ORs and surgical settings also are specifically discussed.