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International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health

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Prevalence of injuries and reporting of accidents among health care workers at the University Hospital of the West Indies

Kurt Vaz1 / Donovan McGrowder1 / Tazhmoye Crawford1 / Ruby Alexander-Lindo1 / Rachael Irving1

Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica1

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica2

This content is open access.

Citation Information: International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health. Volume 23, Issue 2, Pages 133–143, ISSN (Online) 1896-494X, ISSN (Print) 1232-1087, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-010-0016-5, July 2010

Publication History

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Prevalence of injuries and reporting of accidents among health care workers at the University Hospital of the West Indies

Objectives: This study investigated the knowledge, awareness and practices of health care workers towards universal precautions at the University Hospital of the West Indies. The study also examined the prevalence of injuries experienced by health care workers, as well as incidence of accidents and compliance with post-exposure prophylaxis. Materials and Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted in September and October 2007. A 28-item self-administered questionnaire was provided to two hundred health care workers including medical doctors, medical technologists, nurses and porters to assess knowledge and practices regarding universal precautions, prevalence of injuries and incidence of accidents. Results: Almost two-thirds (62.3%) of the respondents were aware of policies and procedures for reporting accidents while one-third (33.2%) were unsure. All nurses were aware of policies and procedures for reporting accidents, followed by medical doctors (88%) and medical technologists (61.2%). The majority (81.5%) of the respondents experienced splashes from bodily fluid. Over three-quarters of medical doctors (78%) and two-thirds of nurses (64%) reported having experienced needle stick injuries, while the incidence among medical technologists was remarkably lower (26%). The majority of the respondents (59%) experienced low accident incidence while just over one-tenth (14%) reported high incidence. Eighty four respondents reported needle stick injuries; just under two-thirds (59.5%) of this group received post-exposure treatment. Conclusions: The study found that majority of health care workers were aware of policies and procedures for reporting accidents. Splashes from body fluids, needle stick injuries and cuts from other objects were quite prevalent among health care workers. There is a need for monitoring systems which would provide accurate information on the magnitude of needle stick injuries and trends over time, potential risk factors, emerging new problems, and the effectiveness of interventions at The University Hospital of the West Indies and other hospitals in Jamaica.

Keywords: Health care workers; Needle stick injuries; Knowledge; Awareness

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