The 2014 ACIPC Survey of Sharps Injury Incidence in Australian Hospitals

Terry Grimmond 1, Nicole Vause 2, Jane Woodley 3

Grimmond and Associates, Microbiology Consultants, Hamilton, New Zealand

Mt Gambier & Districts HS, Country Health SA Local Health Network, Mt Gambier, SA, Australia

Workforce Directorate, Workforce Health, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA Health, Adelaide, SA, Australia


Early results of a preliminary survey of Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) members showed healthcare workers (HCW) are at an unacceptable risk of sharps injury (SI). This paper presents the results of the extended ACIPC survey.

ACIPC members completed a 9-question survey via the ACIPC website. Preliminary 2014 incidence data was obtained in 2015 and the extended survey completed in 2016. Reported SI among total staff, nurses and doctors were obtained and apportioned by percentage, and incidence rates determined per 100 occupied beds and per 100 Nurse FTE.

151 hospitals participated from 6 states. The SI rate per 100 Occupied Beds was 14.1 compared with 25.2 in USA. The SI rate of 3.2 per 100 Nurse FTE was identical in both countries. Of the Australian SI reported, 52% were nurses, 36% doctors and 50% occurred during surgical procedures, as compared to 46%, 32% and 38% respectively for USA.

Australian HCW remain at a high and unacceptable risk of SI. Adoption of safety engineered devices is not the sole answer. Australia has no national SI database and there is an urgent need for this to be established and made publically available. The issue of SI risk needs addressing at a legislative level.

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