Percutaneous injury, blood exposure, and adherence to standard precautions: are hospital-based health care providers still at risk?


Journal Article

To examine factors associated with blood exposure and percutaneous injury among health care workers, we assessed occupational risk factors, compliance with standard precautions, frequency of exposure, and reporting in a stratified random sample of 5123 physicians, nurses, and medical technologists working in Iowa community hospitals. Of these, 3223 (63%) participated. Mean rates of hand washing (32%-54%), avoiding needle recapping (29%-70%), and underreporting sharps injuries (22%-62%; overall, 32%) varied by occupation (P<.01). Logistic regression was used to estimate the adjusted odds of percutaneous injury (aOR(injury)), which increased 2%-3% for each sharp handled in a typical week. The overall aOR(injury) for never recapping needles was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.60-0.91). Any recent blood contact, a measure of consistent use of barrier precautions, had an overall aOR(injury) of 1.57 (95% CI, 1.32-1.86); among physicians, the aOR(injury) was 2.18 (95% CI, 1.34-3.54). Adherence to standard precautions was found to be suboptimal. Underreporting was found to be common. Percutaneous injury and mucocutaneous blood exposure are related to frequency of sharps handling and inversely related to routine standard-precaution compliance. New strategies for preventing exposures, training, and monitoring adherence are needed.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Doebbeling, BN; Vaughn, TE; McCoy, KD; Beekmann, SE; Woolson, RF; Ferguson, KJ; Torner, JC

Published Date

  • October 1, 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1006 - 1013

PubMed ID

  • 14523763

Pubmed Central ID

  • 14523763

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-6591

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1058-4838

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/377535


  • eng