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Keywords:

  • injuries;
  • instruments;
  • needles;
  • sharps;
  • Singapore

Relatively little attention has been directed to investigating the risks of sharps injuries in Singapore. This study examines the epidemiology and causes of sharps injuries at a university teaching hospital. The type of instruments, site of injuries and personnel involved in each sharps injury were determined retrospectively by reviewing the Incident Reports forms and Infection Control records between 1997 and 2000. Descriptive information on the forms and records were extracted and collected on standard charts. The data were then analysed using spss Windows software. The rates of sharps injuries were 11.0 per 100 medical staff and 6.9 per 100 nursing staff. Medical staff yielded highest proportion of sharps injuries rendering 33 cases (40.2%), followed by 24 cases involving nursing staff (29.3%) and 12 cases of nursing students (14.6%). In total, 62.2% of injuries were caused by hollow bore needles (51 cases). Non-hollow bore needle injuries only accounted for 17.1% of total injuries (14 cases). Hollow bore needles accounted for the highest proportion of sharps injuries in this study, corresponding to findings in other studies. Rates of injuries were similar to the rates found at another local hospital. At the hospital studied, sharps with safety features had effectively produced no reported cases of sharps injuries.