Don't ignore a medical sharps injury

2016-06-03

Half of all needlestick and sharps injuries go unreported

In Australia at least 18,000 healthcare professionals report suffering a needle-stick injury (often referred to as NSI or contaminated sharps injury) every year.

The unsettling reality is that between 30-80% of these types of injuries go deliberately unreported so the total numbers of injuries in the Australian healthcare system are thought to be around 30,000 each year.1

Around 1 needle-stick injury occurs in every 2 days of hospital operation2

What's the risk of infection?

At least 20 pathogens can be transmitted during these sharps injuries including HIV and Hepatitis B & C3 The chances of being infected that pose the greatest threat are:3

  • Hepatitis B – approximately 2 in 5 chance
  • Hepatitis C – approximately 1 in 10 chance
  • HIV – approximately 1 in 300 chance

Our Nurses are the most at risk

About 40% of healthcare workers who experience a NSI in NSW are registered nurses followed by medical officers with most of the NSIs involving hollow-bore needles

  • The Office of the Australian Safety and Compensation Council record that one in nine nurses in Australia has had at least one NSI in the past 12 months.
  • Infection Control training and education options are available through the Albion Centre Education Unit, phone 02 9332 9720 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It can happen anywhere

Contaminated sharps injuries post a real and significant threat to a medical workers health and livelihood with injuries occurring in any medical facility where needles and sharp objects are used, including dental and veterinary clinics, medical research facilities and pathology laboratories.

Unusual risks have a speciality service for nurses, doctors and other medical professionals who are at risk of a contaminated sharps injuries.

Our explainer video about needlestick and sharps injuries (NSI's)

Our case study for nurses and related medical professions has a useful explainer video about needlestick and contaminated sharps injuries here.

Want to know more?  Get in touch with us for a confidential chat or send us an email.


Definitions & data sources

If skin is punctured by a sharp medical tool like a scalpel or needle on a syringe, it's commonly referred to as a needlestick injury or NSI.

1 AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database, Separation statistics by principal diagnosis, Australia 2007-08.

2 Medical Journal of Australia, 2002

3 Needlestick Injuries, Canada’s National Occupational Health & Safety

Drew Browne

Drew specialises in helping people protect and provide for what matters most in their lives. He's an award-winning writer, speaker, financial adviser and business strategy mentor. His company Sapience Financial and Investment Services is committed to using business solutions for good in the community, is a member of the international B1G1 Business for Good Giving Community and in 2015 certified as a B Corp. In 2017 Drew was recognised in the inaugural Australian Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow national awards. Drew writes for successful Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs at Smallville, his blogs can be read on Amazon.com and you can connect with him on LinkedIn.