Needlestick and sharps injuries are recognised as one of the significant occupational hazards faced by healthcare workers every day. Every needlestick or sharps injury carries the risk of acquiring a potentially life threatening bloodborne disease such as hepatitis B or C, or HIV/AIDS.
An informal Alliance of organisations has assembled to raise awareness of the issue as a national workplace health and safety concern and to advance reforms to improve prevention of needlestick and sharps injuries in the healthcare setting.
The strategic objectives of the Alliance are:
- To improve the education and training of workers in healthcare settings on the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens from needlestick and sharps injuries by incorporation of sharps injury prevention training into formal education programs.
- To require the mandatory collection of surveillance data for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens (OE to BBP), consistent across both public and private sectors, to monitor the number of needlestick and sharps injuries and relevant outcomes for healthcare employees.
- To incorporate into national occupational health and safety regulations and codes of practice; and healthcare safety and quality standards, the mandatory use of safety engineered medical devices (SEMD) in our healthcare system.