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EPINet 2001


Clinical bottom line

Needlestick injury rates fell between 1999 and 2001. Few needlestick injuries were associated with activated safety systems.


J Perry et al. EPINet Report: 2001 percutaneous injury rates. Advances in Exposure Prevention 2003 6: 32-36.


In 2001, 1,929 percutaneous injuries were reported to EPINet, through census in the reporting centres


The average percutaneous injury rate was 26 injuries per hospital bed in teaching hospitals, and 18 per hospital bed in non-teaching hospitals. THis correspond with higher figures of 40 and 34 respectively in 1999 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Percutaneous injury rates in EPINet hospitals (21 hospitals in 1999, and 58 in 2001)

IN about 1800 needlestick injuries, the majority (72%) were caused by devices that were not safety devices, and only 12% were caused by safety devices (Figure 2).

Of the injuries that did involve a safety device, most of the injuries occurred when the safety mechanism was either not activated, or only partially activated (Figure 3). Thus only 44 of 1,756 injuries (2.5%) were caused by needles with activated safety devices.


What is interesting is that safety needles caused such a small proportion of total needlestick injuries, and that the number has declined over three years. This may be a demonstration that the US legislation, and continuing vigilance and training plus greater use of safety systems is having the desired effect.