Benchmarking of Percutaneous Injuries at the Ministry of Health Hospitals of Saudi Arabia in Comparison with the United States Hospitals Participating in Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet™)

ZA Memish, AM Assiri, MM Eldalatony, HM Hathout


Background: Exposure to blood-borne pathogens from needle-stick and sharp injuries continues to pose a significant risk to health care workers. These events are of concern because of the risk to transmit blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and the human immunodeficiency virus.

Objective: To benchmark different risk factors associated with needle-stick incidents among health care workers in the Ministry of Health hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia compared to the US hospitals participating in Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet ™).

Methods: Prospective surveillance of needle-stick and sharp incidents carried out during the year 2012 using EPINet™ ver 1.5 that provides uniform needle stick and sharp injury report form.

Results: The annual percutaneous incidents (PIs) rate per 100 occupied beds was 3.2 at the studied MOH hospitals. Nurses were the most affected job category by PIs (59.4%). Most PIs happened in patients' wards in the Ministry of Health hospitals (34.6%). Disposable syringes were the most common cause of PIs (47.20%). Most PIs occurred during use of the syringes (36.4%).

Conclusion: Among health care workers, nurses and physicians appear especially at risk of exposure to PIs. Important risk factors of injuries include working in patient room, using disposable syringes, devices without safety features. Preventive strategies such as continuous training of health care workers with special emphasis on nurses and physicians, encouragement of reporting of such incidents, observation of sharp handling, their use and implementation of safety devices are warranted.


Needlestick injuries; Benchmarking; Health personnel; Blood-borne pathogens; Occupational exposure

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2015.467

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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