4 Ways to Decrease Sharps Injuries

Healthcare workers including surgeons, nurses and physicians work long hours as they treat patients in need of care. Certain risks are associated with working in healthcare and emergency environments such as hospitals and operating rooms (ORs). Among these risks, sharps injuries are a common and avoidable hazard all healthcare workers face. It’s important for healthcare providers to adhere to prevention practices and explore safety-based solutions to diminish the risk to themselves, their patients and others. 

To decrease risk of injury, below are four quick safety recommendations:

  1. Hands-free transfer
  2. Establish a neutral zone
  3. Consider safer devices
  4. Research new products

Hands-Free Transfer
Sharps injuries stem from a number of major causes. One of which, is unsafe work practices during multi-step processes such as passing instruments by hand during surgical procedures. Opting for hands-free transfer tools, such as instrument trays, minimizes the risk of sharps injuries when compared to hand-to-hand transfers. Trays can accommodate a variety of instrument lengths and feature finger notches for easy accessibility and handling. Also, selecting transfer trays in brighter colors makes it easier to see them.

Establish a Neutral Zone
A great way to reduce the probability of sharps injuries is to establish a “neutral zone” within the ORs. Designate an area where needles, scalpels and other sharps can be placed to be picked up when needed. Placing a brightly colored non-slip instrument drape over this area can also increase visibility, making sharps more easily discernible. This "neutral zone" eliminates the direct transfer of sharp objects by facilitating a hands-free transfer method, therefore effectively decreasing the opportunity for injury.

Consider Safer Devices
Some devices are designed with accident and injury prevention in mind. Some options include retractable needles or needle sheaths and tips or guards to prevent accidental needle sticks during routine blood draws. These options decrease injury risk by allowing for easy single-handed needle capping, once no longer needed. Consider switching to or adding these devices to your supply list to further prevent accidental needle sticks, exposure to blood borne pathogens and other injuries from injection devices. 

Research New Products 
Making changes can be difficult. Support your recommendation with additional research. Justify the need for new or alternative solutions with independent research, reviews and statistical data. Explain the need for change by explaining how adopting new safety measures and solutions benefits your facility, nurses, surgeons and other team members.

Concordance Healthcare Solutions focuses on providing the most robust product offerings to our customers. We distribute medical supplies from a diverse mix of supplier partners, creating a model that offers the most comprehensive channel of new products and technology. We look forward to learning how we can help you!

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