Background Occupational accidents with exposure to biological material between nursing workers is a problem, due to its prevalence and potential aggravations. The Standard Precautions are measures of primary prevention that can minimise these injuries.
Objective To analyse the adherence of Brazilian nursing workers to standard precautions in occupational accidents involving potentially contaminated biological material.
Method Descriptive study performed with 260 nursing workers, from two Brazilian hospitals, who suffered occupational accidents. The instruments used to collect data, which took place in 2015, were the electronic form from the Prevention of Occupational Accidents with Biological Material Network (REPAT/USP), to register the occupational accidents, and the Questionnaires for knowledge and compliance with standard precaution, translated and adapted for use in Brazil, to identify the adherence of workers to the standard precautions.
Results From the 260 participants, 65.4% suffered occupational accidents with biological material once and 34.6% suffered it twice or more. All the workers said they knew about the precautions, however, their adherence is partial when executing tasks that involve biological risks, besides, the workers don’t always use gloves when collecting blood (24.6%), when in contact with blood (78.1%), when performing intramuscular or subcutaneous injections (45.4%). Also, they don’t always wear protection masks (65.8%), protective goggles (72.3%) or aprons (78.8%). Moreover, 14.2% of the workers perform active coating of needles and 99.2% dispose of sharp and cutting materials, contaminated with blood, without gloves.
Conclusion Adoption of strategies to increase adherence to the Standard Precautions are necessary and should be aggregated to: the use of technology measures and development procedures, supply of needles/catheters with security devices, analysis of work practices and control in order to avoid the transmission of infections, and to ensure the worker’s immunisation; regulation of waste disposal; training and educational programs related to the risks of pathogens transmitted through blood.
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