News | July 9, 2008

CDC, Premier Healthcare Alliance Work To Eliminate Occupational Needlestick Injuries

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 385,000 needlestick and other sharps-related injuries are sustained annually by hospital-based healthcare personnel, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, with countless others occurring in nursing homes, outpatient clinics, physician offices and emergency care services. These injuries put healthcare workers at risk of becoming infected with life-threatening viruses, such as hepatitis B and C viruses and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The Premier healthcare alliance is collaborating with the CDC on an initiative to eliminate occupational injuries from needlesticks and other sharp objects. As part of this initiative, a comprehensive workbook on sharps injury prevention, along with wall signs and an educational CD-ROM, are being made available to healthcare administrators and staff involved in sharps injury prevention activities.

"For more than three decades, the CDC has been involved in activities related to sharps injury prevention, including analysis of injuries, surveillance and data reporting, safety device analysis, prevention research, and education and training," said Dr. Denise Cardo, director of the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. "The revised workbook and related educational resources from the CDC are designed to meet our goal of eliminating occupational needlestick injuries."

Key recommendations for successful sharps injury prevention programs in the 2008 workbook revision include:

  • Systematic and organization-wide approach to sharps injury prevention;
  • Integration into existing performance improvement, infection prevention and control, and safety programs and processes;
  • Baseline assessments of sharps injuries, work practices and prevention strategies, organizational safety culture, process for reporting and follow-up for injuries, and process for selection, evaluation and implementation of safety devices;
  • Establishment of priorities for action based on assessments, including problem-specific prevention strategies;
  • Education and training of workers on all elements of the prevention program, including medical follow-up after an injury; and
  • Ongoing assessment of program effectiveness.

"Any healthcare workers who handle sharps, such as hypodermic needles, IV catheters, phlebotomy devices, suture needles, scalpels or lancets, are at risk of accidental needlestick injuries," said Premier Safety Institute vice president Gina Pugliese. "Premier's goal is to help educate healthcare workers on the risks and how to develop specific strategies and implement safety devices that will eliminate needlestick injuries."

The CDC released the Workbook for Designing, Implementing and Evaluating a Sharps Injury Prevention Program in 2004. The Premier Safety Institute assisted the CDC in their study to evaluate the workbook to determine if it was an effective tool to assist with needlestick elimination. The CDC used feedback from the eight hospitals that participated in the study to improve the 162-page workbook and its tools, including forms to collect data, evaluate devices, document exposure incidents, implement prevention devices and work practices, and assess the organization culture for patient and worker safety.

The CDC developed a special CD-ROM containing the 2008 revision of the workbook along with three educational slide sets, a brochure for healthcare professionals, and a two-minute introductory video by CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. The CD-ROM, wall posters, abstracts from the study hospitals, and a downloadable copy of the 2008 workbook are available from the Premier Safety Institute Web site at

Premier has a long-standing commitment to worker safety. The Premier Safety Institute launched a publicly accessible Sharps Injury Prevention Web site to provide Web-based tools, resources and education to help healthcare organizations eliminate sharps-related injuries and document their actions required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. A special section of the Premier Safety Institute Web site highlights the CDC's recent activities and other resources related to needlestick prevention at

About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Serving more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals and 50,000 other healthcare sites, the Premier healthcare alliance and its members are transforming healthcare together. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier operates one of the leading healthcare purchasing networks and the nation's most comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information. A subsidiary operates one of the nation's largest policy-holder owned, hospital professional liability risk-retention groups. A world leader in helping healthcare providers deliver dramatic improvements in care, Premier is working with the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in San Diego, Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Washington. For more information, visit

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