More Health Care Workers Protected
McGuinty Government Extends Needle Safety To Additional Workplaces
Ontario is taking additional steps to protect health care workers by making the use of safety-engineered needles mandatory in long-term care homes, laboratories, specimen collection centres and psychiatric facilities by April 1, 2009. All hospitals have been required to use safety-engineered needles since September 1, 2008.
Safety-engineered needles have been designed to eliminate or minimize the risk of needle punctures to the user. Needlestick injuries are a significant concern of nurses and other health care workers.
The government proposes to extend the regulation in 2010 to other health care workplaces such as home care, doctors' offices and ambulance services as part of its Healthy Work Environments Initiative.
- Needlestick injuries can transmit serious blood-borne infectious diseases such as HIV / AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
- According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), there were just over 1,600 reported needlestick injuries in Ontario’s health system in 2006.
- Using safety-engineered medical sharps reduces injuries. Toronto East General Hospital reported a sharps injury reduction of 80 per cent (i.e., from 41 cases in 2003 to eight cases in 2004) and the elimination of blood collection injuries after implementing safety-engineered medical sharps.
“We value the hard work and dedication of the approximately 500,000 health care workers who are on the front lines protecting us each and every day. Health care workers protect us. It is only fitting that we take action to protect them.”
“Health care workers deserve safe and healthy work environments. This action will further reduce the number of needle-stick injuries in Ontario by ensuring even more caregivers are protected.”