Safe in Common (SIC) on June 4 issued a statement welcoming the release of a joint recommendation by federal government agencies calling for the increased use of needlestick-prevention devices within the operating rooms of U.S healthcare facilities, but said it did not go far enough in delivering optimal protection to all healthcare personnel at risk of harm.
On May 30, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a statement recommending that healthcare professionals in surgical settings use blunt-tip needles when clinically appropriate to suture muscle and fibrous tissue to help prevent needlestick injuries.
In response, said Mary Foley, PhD, RN, chairperson of Safe in Common and former American Nurses Association president, on June 4, issued the following statement:
"We support this move by the FDA, NIOSH and OSHA to improve protection of healthcare workers within the operating room environment. The OR is a high pressure environment with unique needlestick prevention needs.
"OSHA began to enforce legislation in 2002 mandating the use of safety engineered medical devices within U.S. healthcare facilities. However the number of reported needlestick injuries caused by suture needles in the OR has remained largely stable during the last decade.
"It is clear that the use of blunt tip suture needlescan dramatically reduce the risk of needlestick injury when suturing fascia and muscle in the OR. Such safety devices should be utilized wherever possible, regardless of the upfront cost.
"The recommendation released by federal agencies is a positive first step and a timely reminder to U.S. healthcare facilities. However it will fail to deliver true protection to healthcare workers at risk of harm without strengthened enforcement by OSHA and improved opportunities for device manufacturers to promote awareness of the safest, simplest device technologies."
Safe in Common has united a community of thousands of healthcare personnel around the cornerstone of their campaign - gathering signatures for the Organization's Needlestick Safety Pledge as a step toward preventing needlestick and sharps related injuries. http://www.safeincommon.org/needlestick-safety-pledge
For more information about Safe in Common, visit http://www.safeincommon.org.