Needlestick & Sharps Safety

Alliance for Sharps Safety and Needlestick Prevention in Healthcare

One of the significant risks in the healthcare workplace is injury by needlestick or other sharps device. An informal alliance of interested organisations has assembled to raise awareness of the issue as a workplace health and safety concern and to advance reforms to improve prevention of these injuries.

An initial roundtable was held at Parliament House Canberra in late March 2009. Participants in the roundtable heard on recent developments in Europe from a leader of Health First, an advocacy group with similar aims to the Australian coalition, and also from a nurse who suffered a needlestick injury in the workplace, resulting in occupationally acquired HIV infection.

The participants resolved to establish an alliance with three key objectives:

  • Reforming OH&S guidelines under the new Worksafe Australia program to introduce national codes of practice to require the mandatory use of safety engineered devices
  • Improving education of healthcare workers on the potential risks from workplace needlestick injuries and the need to incorporate this education into formal training and education programs
  • Requiring mandatory reporting of needlestick injuries so that the number of incidents and outcomes can be tracked.

The alliance partners are:

  • Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases
  • Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
  • Australian Infection Control Association
  • Australian Nurse Teachers’ Society
  • Australian Nursing Federation
  • Australian Society for Microbiology
  • Associate Prof Cathryn Murphy (as an independent expert)
  • Medical Technology Association of Australia
  • Royal College of Nursing, Australia
  • Royal College of Pathologists Australasia

The Alliance has its own websiteat http://www.allianceforsharpssafety.org/