AOHP survey: Needle safety is top concern

Needle safety continues to be a top concern of employee health professionals, according to a member survey by the Association of Occupational Health Professionals (AOHP), based in Wexford, PA.

In a survey of about 250 members, bloodborne pathogens ranked as the top public policy concern. Work environment and safe patient handling were second and third in priority.

“Sharps injuries remain an ongoing problem,” says MaryAnn Gruden, MSN, CRNP, NP-C, COHN-S/CM, coordinator of employee health services at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh and president emeritus and association community liaison of AOHP. “Even in light of the safety devices out there, people are still getting stuck.”

AOHP plans to look more closely at work environment issues, such as workload, long working hours, and workplace violence, Gruden notes.

Meanwhile, AOHP has been working in an alliance with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on safe patient handling. OSHA will revise its e-tool web site (www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/mainpage.html) to make unit-specific recommendations, such as safe patient-handling advice for the intensive care unit, she says.

AOHP also is working with OSHA to develop safe patient-handling guidance for acute care hospitals.