Healthcare workers’ occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens: A 5-year observation in selected hospitals of the Małopolska province

Anna Różańska 1  ,  
Anna Szczypta 2,  
Magda Baran 3,  
Chair of Microbiology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Kraków, Poland
Infection Control Team, John Paul II Hospital, Kraków, Poland
Infection Control Team, St. Lukas Hospital, Tarnów, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2014;27(5):747–756
Objectives: The study presents data concerning occupational exposures among the staff of 5 hospitals in the Małopolska province in 2008–2012, taking into account the frequency and circumstances of exposure formation, occupational groups of hospital workers, as well as diversification of the reported rates in subsequent years between the hospitals and in each of them. An additional objective of the analysis was to assess the practical usefulness of the reported data for planning and evaluation of the effectiveness of procedures serving to minimize the risk of healthcare workers’ exposure to pathogens transmitted through blood. Material and Methods: Data were derived from occupational exposure registries kept by 5 hospitals of varying sizes and operational profiles from the Małopolska province from the years 2008–2012. Results: Seven hundred and seventy-five cases of exposure were found in a group of 3165 potentially exposed workers in the analyzed period. Most cases were observed in nurses (68%) and these were mainly various types of needlestick injuries (78%). Exposure rates with respect to all workers ranged from 2.6% to 8.3% in individual hospitals, but the differences in their values registered in the hospitals in subsequent years did not bear any statistical significance, in a way similar to the rates calculated separately for each occupational group. Conclusions: There was no upward or downward trend in the number of reported cases of exposure to bloodborne pathogens in the studied period in any of the hospitals. Statistically significant differences in the percentages of exposures were reported between individual hospitals in some years of the analyzed period, which confirms the need for registries in individual units in order to plan and evaluate the effectiveness of preventative measures.