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NEEDLESTICK: What is the sharps injury rate in hospitals?

FINDINGS: 21.37 percutaneous injuries per 100 average daily census from EPINet – 2013

These data are from the International Safety Center, in a survey report called the Exposure Prevention Information Network, or EPINet.  This reporting system was established in 1992 and is distributed to over 1,500 U.S. hospitals.  However, the number of hospitals reporting is much smaller – about 25 U.S. hospitals, per telephone call to the ISC, 434.962.3470 (on 2/24/16).

Source: International Safety Center (no date, 2014?). EPINet report for needlestick and sharp object injuries.  Click here: https://internationalsafetycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Official-2013-NeedleSummary.pdf

FINDINGS: 16.5 sharps injuries per 100 licensed hospital beds in MASSACHUSETTS – 2012

The State of Massachusetts requires hospitals to report their annual sharps injury rates.  Here are the most current data – for 2012:


Type of Hospital Rate of Sharps Injuries per 100 Licensed Beds
Small (less than 100 beds) 14.0
Medium (101-300 beds) 10.3
Large (greater than 300 beds) 26.6
All hospitals 16.5
Teaching 27.7
Non-teaching   9.7

Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Surveillance Program. (2014, Aug.). Sharps injuries among hospital workers in Massachusetts: Findings from the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System, 2012.  Click here: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/occupational-health/injuries/injuries-hospital-2012.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org


How are we doing in avoiding sharps injuries?

This cover story is a review of the state of the art in sharps safety, a decade after the enactment of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.  It has a number of interesting facts: 

  • Direct employer cost of a needlestick injury = $3000 to over $5100
  • There has been an overall decline in sharps injury rates
  • Hospitals are further along than other providers in improving sharps safety
  • Needlesticks are of greater concern than blood splashes
  • Most accidental cuts in surgery occur when instruments are exchanged
  • Direct sharps waste is estimated to be over 150 million pounds per year

The article concludes with a listing of sharps safety vendors.

Source: Akridge, J.  Injecting safety into sharps practicesHealthcare Purchasing News;35(7):26+, July 2011.  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Magnet status. Is it worth it?

As of March 2011, slightly fewer than seven percent of registered hospitals in the U. S. have earned the Magnet Recognition Program credential that recognizes organizations for nursing excellence. According to an article in Trustee magazine, the cost of achieving Magnet status can run from $46,000 to $251,000.

Is it worth it?

  • At Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, Atlantic City, NJ, both nurse turnover and vacancy rates dropped after the hospital achieved Magnet status, even as bed size grew by 20 percent.
  • Palomar Pomerado Health in San Diego County, CA, estimates they saved about $1.2 million a year system-wide by reducing the nurse turnover rate through the Magnet journey.
  • An article in the Journal of Nursing Administration calculates the monetary value of improved outcomes experienced by Magnet hospitals, including not only reduced turnover and vacancy rates, but also fewer needlesticks and musculoskeletal injuries and decreased falls and pressure ulcers.

The author of the Trustee article quotes Barbara Wilson, board chair at St. Luke’s Boise-Meridian Medical Center, ID, as identifying five main benefits in investing the time and money in Magnet:

  • Results in better outcomes
  • Provides a tool for recruiting nurses
  • Invests in front-line employees
  • Produces more engaged employees
  • Provides an organizational competitive advantage


Frellick, M. A path to nursing excellence. Trustee. 64(3):15-21, Mar. 2011. http://tinyurl.com/4ak72an

Drenkard, K. The business case for Magnet. Journal of Nursing Administration. 40(6):263-71, June 2010. http://tinyurl.com/4mq73jr

Growth of the program. Designations and redesignations as of March 2011. American Nurses Credentialing Center. Mar. 21, 2011. http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Magnet/ProgramOverview/GrowthoftheProgram.aspx