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In 1998, the California Department of Health Services invited all healthcare facilities in California (n = 2,532) to participate in a statewide, voluntary sharps injury surveillance project The objectives were to determine whether a low-cost sharps registry could be established and maintained, and to evaluate the circumstances surrounding sharps injuries in California.
Approximately 450 facilities responded and reported a total of 1,940 sharps-related injuries from January 1998 through January 2000. Injuries occurred in a variety of healthcare workers (80 different job titles). Nurses sustained the highest number of injuries (n = 658). In hospital settings (n = 1,780), approximately 20% of the injuries were associated with drawing venous blood, injections, or assisting with a procedure such as suturing. As expected, injuries were caused by tasks conventionally related to specific job classifications. The overall results approximate those reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Surveillance System for Health Care Workers and the University of Virginia's Exposure Prevention Information Network.
These data further support findings from previous studies documenting the complex and persistent nature of sharps-related injuries in healthcare workers. In the future, mandated reporting using standardized forms and consistent application of decision rules would facilitate a more thorough analysis of injury events.
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