INTERNATIONAL SHARPS INJURY PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH
Every year in December, International Sharps Injury Prevention Awareness Month serves as a reminder to follow safety protocols where needles and other medical sharps are concerned.
In the medical world, sharps are materials or items with sharp points or edges that may cut or puncture the skin. Needle sticks alone account for 400,000 sharps injuries per year. Other items may include:
- Auto injectors
- Infusion sets
- Connection needs
- Scalpel blades
Punctures and cuts not only create a wound but also introduce bloodborne pathogens into the body. Many safeguards have been put in place that reduces or eliminate the risk of injury by sharp devices. However, they still occur. Healthcare employers conduct training that is designed to prevent needle sticks and teach employees what to do if one occurs. The observance encourages the review of protocols and training. It’s also a time to assess how injuries occur and implement safeguards to improve outcomes.
HOW TO OBSERVE
During the month, sharps injury prevention is the focus. Many healthcare employers will review their protocols and the incidence of sharps injuries. Further steps that can be taken during December include:
- Reviewing sharps standards in your facility.
- Eliminating unnecessary use of sharps.
- Never recapping sharps.
- Using personal protective equipment.
- Properly disposing of sharps.
- Using retractable needles.
- Reviewing sharp injuries to prevent future ones.
- Joining or hosting a seminar on sharps prevention.
- Reviewing articles on infection control.
- Attending educational events.
Use #SharpsInjuryPreventionMonth to use on social media.
The International Sharps Injury Prevention Society (ISIPS) founded International Sharps Injury Prevention Awareness Month in 2013 to increase education regarding sharps injuries and reduce their occurrence.