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The CDC Workbook: Total Sharps-injury Improvement
Jane Perry
Publish Date: October 10, 2007   |  Tags:   Staff Safety

Jane Perry, MA Let me walk you through a new online workbook from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that offers the most comprehensive program yet for implementing and maintaining a sharps-injury prevention program.

Steps and processes
The workbook provides a general overview of sharps-injury risks and prevention strategies and a program plan with two main components: organizational steps and operational processes.

  • Organizational steps. This section's extended planning and assessment instruction is aimed at developing a sharps safety strategy. It might be useful if you're already using the continuous quality improvement (CQI) model, but might be cumbersome if you're not. CQI is a "systemic, organization-wide approach for continually improving all processes involved in the delivery of quality products and services."

You'll be asked to conduct a "baseline assessment" of your safety culture (the workbook provides a survey form for that purpose) and the procedures already in place for sharps-injury reporting and data analysis. This is to see where you need to improve. Based on the assessment, you can set an action plan. The book encourages you to pick the material that's most helpful and relevant to your facility's needs.

  • Operational processes. This is the meat of the program, helping you implement a sharps-injury prevention strategy by showing you how to
  • develop a system for sharps injury reporting,
  • analyze sharps injury data and calculate injury rates,
  • organize a team for safety product selection and evaluation, and
  • implement and monitor safety devices once they are selected.

The workbook outlines content and provides links to teaching tools for conducting a sharps-injury prevention orientation or in-service. You may find the 86 pages of appendices, which include 16 forms and worksheets, particularly useful and comprehensive; they can help you

  • survey attitudes on occupational exposures,
  • evaluate safety devices;
  • conduct root cause analyses of injuries;
  • provide a way for employees to report hazards and near misses; and
  • estimate the needlesticks' cost and the net cost of implementing safety devices.

Your sharps safety program
At 155 pages (download at writeOutLink("www.cdc.gov/sharpssafety",1)), the workbook provides more than smaller facilities need to develop or upgrade a sharps safety program. But for larger institutions (especially the few starting a sharps safety program), much of it could be invaluable.

Other Online Sharps Safety Resources

Here are a few other tools you might find worthwhile for developing, implementing or updating your facility's sharps safety program.

' writeOutLink("www.premierinc.com/all/safety/resources/needlestick/procedures_tools.html",1).
If you're looking for something that's more concise and specifically tailored to meet OSHA requirements, check out the "Bloodborne Pathogen Assessment Tool." At four pages, it provides a short but comprehensive checklist for assessing compliance with OSHA's bloodborne pathogen standard, including an exposure-control plan, post-exposure management and follow-up, and employee training in bloodborne pathogens, as well as implementation of safety devices.

' writeOutLink("www.premierinc.com/safety/resources/needlestick/ha_faq.htm",1).
Also available at the Premier Safety Institute Web site is "Frequently Asked Questions about the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard and Sharps Safety," which addresses some of the most common issues related to bloodborne pathogens compliance.

' writeOutLink("www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/epinet/chcklst2.pdf",1).
This Checklist for Sharps Injury Prevention from the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center is a short, easy-to-use form that targets critical areas for bloodborne pathogen exposure prevention.

' writeOutLink("www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/epinet/about_epinet.cfm",1).
Also available from the Center is the EPINet Sharps Injury and Blood and Body Fluid Exposure surveillance program (with free downloadable report forms).

' writeOutLink("www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/epinet/epinet8.cfm",1).
An OR-specific version of EPINet.

' writeOutLink("www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/bbp/safer",1).
This site from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provides valuable real life advice and information as healthcare facilities share their experiences in implementing safety devices.

- Jane Perry, MA