Many risky, splash-creating activities are conducted without the proper PPE because there is a lower perceived risk.
When it comes to health care occupational risks, slips, trips, and
falls are often the first to come to mind. Sharps also make the top of
the list, but what is often overlooked is the cousin to sharps:
splashes. Also known as mucocutaneous blood exposures, splashes are a
notable risk for health care workers. Splashes—from routine activities
such as cutting catheter bags, cleaning bedpans, and emptying suction
cups—can land on a caregiver, where it can transfer a pathogen through
the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates
that nearly 385,000 health care works in hospitals suffer sharps-related
injuries. 1 By comparison, a study led by Doebbeling, et al.
at the Veterans Administration found that in the previous three months,
roughly 38 percent of all RNs had experienced a splash. Making the risk
even more serious, they found that more than a quarter of these
splashes went unreported. 2
Splashes, like sharps, can present serious risks to health care
employees. This is because they can cause occupational-related
infections, ranging from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to hepatitis
B virus (HBV) to hepatitis C virus (HCV).3. Occupational
exposures such as splashes can lead to lost work days, financial burden,
and physical impairment. They also can take an emotional toll on those
*PPE = Personal protective equipment
Labels: occupational exposure