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CDC: Surveillance System Can Help Reduce Health Care Injuries

Nurse assistants and nurses found to have highest injury rates among all occupations examined

TUESDAY, April 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A surveillance system for health care facilities can be used to identify and help reduce the number of preventable injuries among health care personnel, according to research published in the April 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Ahmed E. Gomaa, M.D., from the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and colleagues collected detailed injury data from the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN), a voluntary surveillance system for health care facilities.

The researchers found that there were 10,680 Occupational Safety and Health Administration-recordable injuries that occurred from Jan. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2014, at 112 facilities. The incidence rates were 11.3, 9.6, and 4.6 incidents per 10,000 worker-months for patient handling and movement; slips, trips, and falls; and workplace violence, respectively. Of all occupations examined, nurse assistants and nurses had the highest injury rates. Some injuries could be mitigated by focused interventions. Resources such as lifting equipment and training could potentially reduce patient handling injuries.

"Future improvements to OHSN include plans to develop a module to systematically collect detailed information on occupational injuries from needles, scalpels, and other sharp objects, and blood and body fluid exposures among health care personnel to assist in creating prevention strategies for those hazards," the authors write. "Targeting prevention strategies can protect health care personnel from prevalent, disabling injuries and help in managing resources."

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