Smartstream's Consumer Education Program
Smartstream works with Qlicksmart to educate healthcare workers on both the importance of staff and patient safety, and how Qlicksmart products can help institutions to comply with regulatory standards. We are happy to share the resources and information we've collated and produced with Qlicksmart distributors for your sales team's use in the field.
Sharps Injury Statistics
Infographic on sharps injuries around the world.
Video infographic summarising the facts surrounding sharps injuries and their prevention using the latest CDC statistics.
Staff Safety and Why We Ignore It
This powerpoint describes the reasons behind general negligence among healthcare workers in regards to sharps safety and possible remedies to address this pertinent issue.
Blame-worthy Phenomenon in Sharps Injuries Among Nurses
This poster presents Dr. Michael Sinnott’s observation of the “Blame-worthy” phenomenon in sharps injuries among nurses who blame themselves when they are injured.
"Scalpel Safety”: Will Surgeons Ever Willingly Comply?
This poster describes the issues and misconceptions about Safety Scalpels and evidences that traditional scalpel handles, which are preferred by 95% of surgeons, is superior and safer than the former.
Sharps Injuries – Why I am to Blame!
This poster illustrates the possible causes of high incidence of sharps injuries in Australian hospitals and a cultural shift by both management and staff is required to change the current practices.
*Presented at the American Psychological Association Conference, Denver, Colorado, August 4-7, 2016
Standards and Guidelines
Safety legislation and regulations surrounding sharps and needle stick injuries were introduced to protect healthcare professionals from blood borne diseases, and healthcare institutions from injuries’ costs.
Qlicksmart products have been designed to help hospitals comply with legislation and regulations from the USA, Europe, and Australia/NZ. See below for a summary of these relevant regulations.
OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1910.103 mandates each healthcare establishment has to establish an organisational bloodborne pathogen Exposure Control Plan (ECP). An ECP must be designed to eliminate and minimize employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens. The ECP must be reviewed yearly, technology used to minimise exposure to bloodborne pathogen must be documented, and a copy of the ECP should also be available to all employees.
When planning for an ECP, an employer should consult employees responsible for direct patient care, for example nurses, who are potentially exposed to injuries from contaminated sharps.
Furthermore, this regulation provides specific provisions on handling sharps, such as recapping or removal of needle that must be accomplished through a one-handed device, and that re-usable sharps should be placed in puncture-resistant, leak-proof containers.
The cost of violating these requirements can be severe. Currently, OSHA fines hospital and healthcare providers for sharps injury violation at USD12,675 per violation, and USD12,675 per day if the hospital fails to abate the violation. In 2016, 12 UPMC hospital faced $451,000 fine for mishandling untreated medical waste, including body dressing, needle and body fluids. A repeated violation? Get ready to pay 10 times more, at $126,749 per violation. The fine does not include fines from other agencies.
In Europe, Directive 2010/32/EU outlines a framework agreement to prevent sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector. The agreement is signed between European Hospital & Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) and the European Public Services Union (EPSU). This agreement is applicable to all workers in the healthcare and medical industry.
This agreement aims to:
- Protect workers at risk,
- Achieve the safest possible working environment for employees in the hospital and healthcare sector,
- Prevent injuries to workers caused by sharp medical objects and instruments
- Set up an integrated approach to assessing and preventing risks
- Training and informing healthcare professionals
Fine enforcement from the Directive varies in individual member states. For example, in Ireland, a person who commits an offence under the Directive can be fined up to €500,000 or imprison for a term not exceeding 3 years, or both. In the UK, Worcestershire Acute Hospital was fined £12,500 plus £9,000 costs after an employee was infected with Hep C from a needle stick injury.
In Australia, the National Code of Practise for the Control of Work Related Exposure to Hepatitis and HIV (blood borne) Viruses [NOHSC: 2010 (2003)] by Safe Work Australia provides a guideline for managing the risk of blood borne pathogens at the workplace.
Australian and European frameworks closely follow OSHA regulations where the key steps in reducing risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens are:
- Risk assessment – evaluate the risk to healthcare workers from exposure to blood, body fluids or contaminated materials as a result of work activities;
- Elimination and prevention of potential hazards,
- Information and awareness training,
- Reporting and record keeping of exposures, and
- Response and follow-up from healthcare professionals