Surveys were completed by 1,214 students in 2009 and 917 students in 2010. The injury rate was 21.4% per year. The most common needlestick injuries were from venous punctures, surgical procedures, and instrument disposal. Of greater concern was the 53% rate of under-reporting.
The majority of all sharps and needlestick injuries occur in operating room settings. Not unexpectedly, trainees are at highest risk. What will help reduce the risk of exposure to blood and body fluids (BBF) is making safety practices normative behavior. In this respect, the routine use of blunt tip suture needles for the closure of muscle and fascia, hands free zones for passing instruments and routine double gloving are known risk reduction practices. This is supported by the American College of Surgeons statement on sharps safety. A recent Cochrane Review reported moderate quality evidence for the use of double gloves for the prevention of BBF exposures.
Safety strategies exist. The time to implement them is now.