13/04/2007

Use of Blunt-Tip Suture Needles to Decrease Percutaneous Injuries to Surgical Personnel

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have jointly published a
Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) designed to help protect surgical
personnel from needle stick injuries while using suture needles.

"Surgical personnel are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne
pathogens from injuries caused by sharp surgical instruments," said Assistant
Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "We strongly encourage the use
of blunt-tip suture needles when feasible and appropriate to reduce this risk."

"The effectiveness of blunt-tip suture needles for preventing needle stick
injuries has been widely reported," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "We
are pleased to partner with OSHA in offering guidance to protect the safety and
health of medical professionals."

The SHIB describes the hazards of sharp-tip suture needles and presents
evidence of the effectiveness of blunt-tip needles in decreasing injuries. It
also emphasizes OSHA's requirement to use appropriate, available and effective
safer medical devices.

Sharp-tip suture needles are the leading source of penetrating injuries to
surgical personnel, causing 51-to-71 percent of these incidents. These injuries
potentially expose staff and patients to bloodborne pathogens.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) issued a statement in 2005 supporting
the use of blunt-tip suture needles where clinically appropriate. This
statement has been endorsed by the six organizations that, along with the ACS,
make up the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: U.S. Department of Labor  Occupational Safety & Health Administration