RCN asks members for experience of sharps and needlestick injuries

The Royal College of Nursing is today launching a survey of members to gather information on their experience of sharps injuries at work.

Sharps injuries, from instruments such as needles and scalpels, are a serious occupational hazard affecting nursing staff and at times of stress and exhaustion, sharps injuries are more likely to occur.

The RCN successfully campaigned for the 2013 sharps regulations to protect all health and care staff and is now seeking to learn from member about their experience and if more work is needed.

Injuries can occur in different ways including non-compliance with standard infection control precautions, inadequate disposal of clinical waste and overfull sharps bins. We are also concerned that wearing bulky PPE may increase risk.

Once the survey is complete the RCN will use the information gathered to help to identify any new or emerging issues to inform the updates to our guidance on sharps injuries.

It will also inform further work we can do with the support of RCN safety reps and our Infection Prevention and Control network and with external bodies, such as the Health and Safety Executive, to help tackle these issues.

“All employers are to ensure that risk of sharps injuries are adequately assessed, and that appropriate control measures are in place.

“Yet we know that injuries of this natures still happen despite them being preventable.

“They are not trivial, carry risks of infection along with the associated mental distress with waiting for the results of a test following a sharps injury.

“If we can find out what is happening across healthcare settings, we can help to make sure staff are better protected.”

The link to fill in the survey can be found here.

The survey, run in collaboration with Sharpsmart UK Ltd, opens on 23 November and closes at 11pm on Sunday 13 December.

Thanks to Sharpsmart UK Ltd for supporting this study. We should all hope that this potentially valuable study doesn’t get lost within the fog of a Sharpsmart sales drive


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