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Needlesticks in police officers

 

Clinical bottom line

Police officers over 6-10 years of service ran a 3 in 10 risk of at least 1 needlestick injury.


Reference

J Lorentz et al. Occupational needlestick injuries in a metropolitan police force. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2000 18: 146-150.

Study

The population was all active police officers of the san Diego Police Department (SDPD) in 1996. The average length of service was nine years. Each was sent an anonymous self-administered questionnaire, and those who had had a needlestick injury completed additional questions about the circumstances and consequences.

Results

The response rate was 46%, with 803 questionnaires returned, and they were representative of SDPD personnel. Of these 238 (30%) reported at least one needlestick injury, with 66 having multiple needlestick injuries. Most occurred during searches of suspects or arrestees. Three quarters of police officers wore protective gloves.

Only 39% sought medical advice at the time of the incident, but most of them were very concerned over the incident and most thought the significance of a needlestick injury the same or greater than a knife or gunshot wound.

Comment

This was a really detailed survey, with an interesting literature review concerning other groups of workers.