Healthcare Worker Surveys Reveal Significant Rise in Sharps Injuries

Surveys of healthcare workers indicate a troubling trend: The number of sharps injuries is increasing.

The EXPO-S.T.O.P. (EXPOsure Survey of Trends in Occupational Practice) 2016 and 2017 surveys were conducted by the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP), with their results published in the AOHP Journal.

An Infection Control Today report covering the surveys and their results noted that "EXPO-S.T.O.P. is an electronic survey designed to ascertain the incidence of sharps injuries and mucocutaneous blood exposures among healthcare workers in U.S. healthcare facilities." The 2016 survey included facilities in 37 states, while the 2017 survey — AOHP's largest to date — included 224 hospital participants.

The 2016 and 2017 surveys' results point to a significant increase in blood exposure incidence over the 2011 results and continue this trend, which was witnessed in the 2015 survey. Furthermore, the 2017 sharps injuries rate is almost back to the 2001 rate. That was the year that the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act was enacted, which contributed to a substantial decrease in sharps injuries in the years that followed, according to the report.