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Keywords:

  • needlestick;
  • paramedic;
  • blood exposure;
  • occupational exposure;
  • prehospital;
  • risk;
  • safety;
  • survey

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to present risk estimates for needlestick in U.S. paramedics and estimated risk ratios for selected management practices.

Methods

A mail survey was conducted among a national sample of U.S. paramedics in 2002–2003.

Results

The adjusted response rate was 55% (n = 2,664). The overall 12-month risk of needlestick was 6.7% (95% confidence interval, 5.4–7.9). Risk ratios for provision of safety-engineered medical devices and two supervisory behaviors that emphasized safe work practices ranged from 2.5 to 3.2. The protective effect of working in an environment that included both of the supervisory behaviors was greater than the protective effect of always being provided with safety devices. A sensitivity analysis indicated that the risk ratio estimates were unlikely to be inflated by nonresponse bias.

Conclusions

These results suggest that greater provision of safety devices and interventions aimed at management practices that promote worker safety could substantially reduce the risk of needlestick among U.S. paramedics. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:866–874, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.