Landmark French Study Finds Passive Safety Devices Most Effective In Prevention of Needlestick Injuries / Skins Punctures

October 26, 2010

In a study, the first of its kind to measure the effectiveness of safety-engineered devices by safety technology type, the theory of passive safety devices offering much better protection against accidental needlestick injuries and skin punctures than active safety technologies, has been proven. The ground-breaking study of 22 million safety devices compared passive, fully automatic devices to early generation active safety devices, such as the semi-automatic (push button) devices or ones with manual sliding shields or hinged caps.

The study appeared in the April 2010 edition of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology and was conducted by GERES (Groupe d'Etude sur le Risque d'Exposition des Soignants), an established government-funded research organization. It examined 61 French hospitals during a two-year period to confirm the effectiveness of passive safety devices for prevention of needlestick injuries, accidental needlesticks and puncture needle deaths.

Among the study's findings, procedure-specific needlestick injuries occurring rated by safety device technology, was documented. The rate of needlestick punctures for passive or fully automatic devices used for intravascular catheters was 1.31 per 100,000 devices utilized. In comparison, the rate of needlestick injuries or punctures for semi-automatic (push button) devices was 2.54 per 100,000, and 4.34 per 100,000 for manual sliding shield devices.

The reason for less needlestick injuries or skin punctures with passive technology is that with manual or semi-automatic (push button) devices, employees have the option of operating the safety features, while with the passive technology, the safety features are always enabled. Passive technology is impressive because it requires no extra effort from the user, eradicates the need for sophisticated training, and protects employees from dangerous needle punctures.

The significance of this study is that it may possibly influence hospital purchasing trends thereby preventing accidental needlesticks, needlestick injuries and punctures and needle deaths among healthcare professionals.

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