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Did legal regulations change the reporting frequency of sharp injuries of medical personnel? Study from 36 hospitals in Łódź Province, Poland

Anna Garus-Pakowska 1  ,  
Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland (Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion)
University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland (Department of Econometrics)
Objectives: The aim of the study has been to analyze the epidemiological data on sharp injuries among health care workers before and after the implementation of regulations related to the conduct of the register of sharp injuries. Material and Methods: We hypothesized that the introduction of legislation would change the existing low reportability of sharp injuries and reporting incidents would increase. In Poland the binding regulations, dating back to 2013, require the employer to keep a record of sharp injuries. Therefore, we compared the data from before and after the entry regulations. Data was collected from the records of occupational exposure/accidents at work in hospitals in the Łódź Province during 2010–2014. The feedback came from 36 hospitals (return index = 51.5%), representing a total annual average of 13 211 medical workers. Results: The incidence of injuries did not change significantly over the period 2010–2014, and the number of reported injuries in 2014 (the year when the Regulation had already been effective) was even lower than in the previous years. The average annual injury index was 12.31 injuries per 1000 employees (95% confidence interval: 11.48–13.16/1000). The incidence of injuries among nurses was significantly higher than in other groups of medical professionals (p < 0.05). These injuries most often occur while using needles (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The obligation to record occupational exposures set forth in current regulations is not likely to improve the reliability of reporting the incidents actually taking place. Further research should focus on identifying barriers to reporting cases of exposure to potentially infectious material. Action should be taken to raise awareness of medical personnel about the possible effects of exposure to infectious material, in particular, the benefits of the implementation of early post-exposure procedures. Perhaps it will increase the reporting frequency of sharp injuries of medical personnel. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2018;31(1)
Anna Garus-Pakowska   
Medical University of Lodz, Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, pl. Hallera 1, 90-647 Łódź, Poland