Pandemic priority: needle safety
Although we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has driven new protocols for patient and team safety, we cannot forget about safety measures that are foundational to dental healthcare workers. At the forefront in the delivery of dental care is sharps safety, especially sharps as related to needles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state in studies of healthcare personnel who sustained injuries from needles contaminated with blood containing HBV, the risk of developing clinical hepatitis if the blood was both hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBeAg positive was 22%--31% and the risk of developing serologic evidence of HBV infection was 37%--62%; for HCV, the average incidence of anti-HCV seroconversion after accidental percutaneous exposure from an HCV-positive source is 1.8%; and for HIV, the average risk of transmission after a percutaneous exposure to HIV-infected blood has been estimated to be approximately 0.3%. Even for HIV, although risk of transmission is extremely low – it’s not zero.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 5.6 million workers in the healthcare industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens each year and that the approximately 385,000 needlestick and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by hospital healthcare workers alone; similar injuries are sustained in other healthcare settings such as dental facilities, nursing homes, emergency centers, and clinics. When accounting for both hospitals and other health care settings, studies have estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 needlestick and other percutaneous injuries occur annually to healthcare workers. Interestingly enough, other studies completed in medical facilities demonstrate that there is considerable underreporting of these injuries.
SimpleCAP is the only self-contained dental needle safety system on the market today and offers a sense of safety and comfort with little effort from its user. SimpleCAP is a device and strategy to reduce the risk of needlestick injuries to dental providers and aims to free your worries about needlestick injuries. Easily threaded on any dental aspirating syringe, SimpleCAP contains the needle at all times, providing protection to the user from the start of the procedure to clean up.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis. MMWR Morbid Mortal weekly Rep 2001;50(RR-11). Available at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5011a1.htm. Accessed September 19, 2020.
2. US Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Healthcare Wide Hazards- Needlestick/Sharps Injuries. Available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/hazards/sharps/sharps.html. Accessed September 19. 2020.
3. Miller CH, Palenik CJ. Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team. 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier; 2013;198.
4. American Nurses Association. Fact Sheet. Available at https://www.nursingworld.org/~48de3c/globalassets/docs/ana/snsl-fact-sheet_final110110.pdf. Accessed September 19, 2020.
5. John Hopkins Medicine. Medical Students Regularly Stuck by Needles, Often Fail to Report Injuries. Available at https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/medical_students_regularly_stuck_by_needles_often_fail_to_report_injuries_. Accessed September 19, 2020.
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January 1, 2021