Am J Ind Med 2007 Mar; 50(3):183-190
Background: Since the early 1990s, researchers have attempted to assess the magnitude of potential work-related bloodborne pathogen (BBP) exposures in theU.S. The only dataderived estimate of 385,000 needlestick and other sharps injuries per year was reported in 2004. The estimate was derived from a convenience sample and did not include exposures outside of hospitals. This study seeks to understand the magnitude and distribution of the exposures across all industries and occupations. Methods: Data were from the 1998 to 2000 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a stratified probability-based sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs). NEISS covers all industries and occupations. National estimates of exposures and exposure rates (the number of exposures/1,000 full-time equivalents (FTE)) were computed. Results: An estimated 78,100 potential work-related exposures to BBP were treated in hospital EDs annually in the U.S. While hospitals accounted for 75% of all these exposures, 11 other industries had a substantial number of exposures. While registered nurses accounted for 36% of all exposures, 13 other occupations had a substantial number of exposures. Hospitals had the highest exposure rate of 11.3/1,000 FTE, followed by nursing homes (2.8), and residential care facilities without nursing (1.9). Registered nurses had the highest exposure rate of 15.3/1,000 FTE, followed by clinical laboratory technologists and technicians (13.9), and physicians (7.1). Conclusions: While this study begins to more completely describe the problem of potential BBP exposure in the workplace, it is but a first step in further understanding the complex issues surrounding workplace BBP exposures.
Bloodborne-pathogens; Emergency-treatment; Needlestick-injuries; Occupational-exposure; Employee-exposure; Exposure-assessment; Surveillance-programs; Medical-equipment; Medical-treatment; Emergency-responders; Nurses; Laboratory-workers; Health-care-facilities;
Author Keywords: bloodborne pathogens; occupational exposure; needlestick injuries; sharps injuries; emergency departments
Guang X. Chen, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research, Mail Stop 1811, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
American Journal of Industrial Medicine