Nurses urged to cut risk of sharps injuries

Occupational health nurses are being urged to assess their workplaces to see
what they can do to help reduce the risks of suffering sharps or needlestick
injuries.

The Royal College of Nursing has launched a safety awareness campaign to
prevent sharps injuries in the workplace.

A pilot study by the college in the 14 sites in England, Wales and Scotland
has shown that in the six months from July last year, there were 455 sharps
incidents, of which 40 per cent happened to nurses.

Launching the "Be safe, be sharp" campaign, RCN senior employment
relations adviser Sheelagh Brewer said, "A sharps injury is not just about
needles. A sharp can be anything from a syringe, scalpel or broken glass to a
fragment of bone or a patient’s tooth."

The college has produced a campaign pack filled with information on how to
avoid injuries. This includes a "pocket action card" telling nurses
exactly what to do and who to tell if they are injured.

It was up to key staff such as OH nurses, safety representatives and
infection control nurses to look at their workplace environment and assess the
risk of suffering sharps injuries, and look again at what are the safest
solutions, she added.

www.rcn.org.uk

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