The unsettling reality is that between 30-80% of these types of injuries go deliberately unreported so the total numbers of injuries in the Australian healthcare system are thought to be around 30,000 each year.1
Around 1 needle-stick injury occurs in every 2 days of hospital operation2
What's the risk of infection?
At least 20 pathogens can be transmitted during these sharps injuries including HIV and Hepatitis B & C3 The chances of being infected that pose the greatest threat are:3
- Hepatitis B – approximately 2 in 5 chance
- Hepatitis C – approximately 1 in 10 chance
- HIV – approximately 1 in 300 chance
Our Nurses are the most at risk
About 40% of healthcare workers who experience a NSI in NSW are registered nurses followed by medical officers with most of the NSIs involving hollow-bore needles
- The Office of the Australian Safety and Compensation Council record that one in nine nurses in Australia has had at least one NSI in the past 12 months.
It can happen anywhere
Contaminated sharps injuries post a real and significant threat to a medical workers health and livelihood with injuries occurring in any medical facility where needles and sharp objects are used, including dental and veterinary clinics, medical research facilities and pathology laboratories.
Unusual risks have a speciality service for nurses, doctors and other medical professionals who are at risk of a contaminated sharps injuries.
Our explainer video about needlestick and sharps injuries (NSI's)
Our case study for nurses and related medical professions has a useful explainer video about needlestick and contaminated sharps injuries here.
Want to know more? Get in touch with us for a confidential chat or send us an email.
Definitions & data sources
If skin is punctured by a sharp medical tool like a scalpel or needle on a syringe, it's commonly referred to as a needlestick injury or NSI.
1 AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database, Separation statistics by principal diagnosis, Australia 2007-08.
2 Medical Journal of Australia, 2002
3 Needlestick Injuries, Canada’s National Occupational Health & Safety