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Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp). 2016 Aug 23;6(3):227-237. eCollection 2016 Sep 29.

Risk Reduction of Needle Stick Injuries Due to Continuous Shift from Unsafe to Safe Instruments at a German University Hospital.

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Department of Tropical Medicine at the Bernhard Nocht Institute, German Armed Forces Hospital of Hamburg, Germany; Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Medicine Rostock, Germany.
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Medicine Rostock , Germany.
Department of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, University Medicine Rostock , Germany.
Department of Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, University Medicine Rostock , Germany.
Central Pharmaceutical Facility, University Medicine Rostock , Germany.
Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group, Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine Hamburg , Germany.


This study assessed protective effects of a continuous introduction of safe instruments in terms of reduction of needle stick injuries. The retrospective study analyzed correlations between the increasing proportion of safe instruments and a reduction of the incidence of needle stick injuries linked to such instruments in a German university hospital over 5 years. Incidents declined about 17.6% from 80.3 incidents per 1000 employees to 66.2, associated with an increase in the proportions of injuries due to instruments without protective mechanisms such as scalpels or hypodermic needles by 12.2%. For injuries due to venipuncture cannulae in various surgical and internal medicine departments, there was a negative association between the proportion of safe instruments and the incidence of injuries. For injection needles, portacath needles, and lancets in selected internal medicine departments, the number of injuries also dropped during this study interval. However, there was no clear-cut association with the percentage of safe instruments. This observational study suggests a correlation between the implementation of use of safe instruments and the reduction of needle stick injuries in a case of a graduated implementation. However, the effects are much less pronounced than in previous interventional studies.


implementation; infection risk; needle stick injury; occupational infection; prevention; safe instrument

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of interest The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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