August 19, 2013
A federal law intended to protect healthcare workers from needlesticks has slashed the number of such injuries by more than 100,000 annually and is producing a yearly cost savings of up to $415 million, a new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.
The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act required employers to provide safer devices (such as safety syringes), review exposure-control plans annually and maintain logs of all injuries by sharp items. It also gave healthcare workers who use the devices a greater role in selecting those devices.
UVa researchers reviewed injury data collected from 85 hospitals in 10 states between 1995 and 2005. They found the law reduced accidental healthcare injuries by more than a third following its implementation in 2000. Based on those figures, the researchers have calculated the nationwide reduction in needlestick injuries at more than 100,000 a year and the annual cost savings at $69 million to $415 million.