Exposure Survey of Trends in Occupational Practice (EXPO-S.T.O.P.) 2015: A national survey of sharps injuries and mucocutaneous blood exposures among health care workers in US hospitals


      National blood exposure (BE) surveys are valuable to health care facilities striving to reduce percutaneous sharps injuries (SIs) or mucocutaneous (MC) exposures among their health care workers (HCWs). In the Exposure Survey of Trends in Occupational Practice (EXPO-S.T.O.P.) 2015 we surveyed hospital BE incidence among members of the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare.


      A 23-item electronic survey requested 2015 data on total SI and MC; SI in nurses, doctors, and surgery; staffed beds; teaching status; full time equivalent staff (FTE), nurse FTE, average daily census (ADC), and adjusted patient days (APD).


      One hundred eighty-one hospitals in 34 states reported 9,343 BE (71% SI and 29% MC exposures). SI rates were 25.2/100 ADC (17.5 in nonteaching hospitals and 30.4 in teaching hospitals), 2.1/100 FTE (significantly less than that in 2001), 3.2/100 nurse FTE, 0.36/1,000 APD, and 38% occurred during surgery. MC exposure incidence rates were 10.5/100 ADC (8.6 in nonteaching hospitals and 11.7 in teaching hospitals), 0.86/100 FTE, and 0.14/1000 APD.


      BE incidence rates have fallen slowly but significantly since 2001, but the reduction is far less than hoped. Occupied beds (ie, ADC) has become a less-useful denominator. We estimate more than 300,000 HCWs sustain SIs annually in hospital and nonhospital settings. Greater resources are needed for more frequent and correct use of safety devices, training to competency, and root-cause investigation of all SIs.

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