Highlighting the dangers of needlestick injuries

Monday 24th June, 2013

The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has welcomed a Private Member’s Motion to be put to Federal Parliament today - highlighting the ongoing danger of needlestick injuries to the country’s nurses and other healthcare workers.

The Motion, drafted by Western Australian MP, Dr Mal Washer, also raises the question why Australia “still lags behind western countries that have mandated measures to reduce sharps injuries”.

Needlestick injuries in Australia under-reported

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Aide Memoire 2003, there are two million injuries from needlesticks and other sharp objects to the world’s 35 million healthcare workers, every year.

In Australia, it has been estimated there are 18,000 reports of needle and sharps injuries to nurses and other healthcare workers a year. But because approximately half of all injuries are not reported, this means the actual number of injuries to nurses and other healthcare workers could double that figure.

Growing nurse shortages makes it crucial nurses work in safe environment

ANF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said today: “Needlestick and other sharps injuries are the most common, and potentially, the most dangerous type of injuries that occur in health settings, exposing victims to the potential risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B or C.

“At a time of growing nurse shortages across Australia’s health and aged care systems, it is crucial that our current nursing professionals work in a safe environment, with appropriate measures undertaken to ensure their protection from the risk of preventable injury from needles and sharps

Union thanks WA MP for raising important issue in Parlt

“Unlike other western countries, like the US and Canada, Australia has no nationally mandated approach to the utilisation of safety devices to prevent needlestick injuries to nurses and other healthcare workers.

“That’s why the ANF, on behalf of our members, thanks Dr Washer for raising this very important issue in Parliament and we support his call for the Government to immediately improve healthcare worker safety by bringing Australia into line with other countries.”