Sharp object injuries in the hospital: Causes and strategies for prevention

We identified characteristics of items causing sharp object injuries in hospital personnel during a 10-month interval. Sharp objects were defined as items that were not hollow-bore needles, that cause lacerations or puncture wounds. Workers reporting sharp object injuries were interviewed to determine what items caused injury and the circumstances of their injuries. Of 89 incidents, 51% were surgical instrument injuries, 19% were lancet injuries, 16% were glass injuries, and 15% were caused by other sharp items. A frequent feature of sharp objects causing injuries was the necessity of disengaging a disposable sharp item from a reusable holder. The application of manual force to fragile glass items also caused many injuries. Opportunities for safer product design and improved materials are discussed to reduce this common occupational hazard.