AOHP Says Sharps Injuries Underreported

A new position statement based on a survey of members placed bloodborne pathogens at the top of the association's agenda.

The Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP) has issued its 2011-2013 Public Policy Statement after conducting a survey of members in August 2010 to identify the top issues and concerns among health care workers. The statement is based on the poll's results and suggests workers share four safety concerns:

  • Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure. AOHP advocates for a policy that supports a safer environment for employees via the use of safer technology, education, training, and prevention regarding sharps injuries. The association says it is concerned about the underreporting of sharps injuries and is continuing to work on these issues with key partners such as OSHA, NIOSH, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Safe Patient Handling. AOHP supports efforts to ensure a safer environment for employees and patients, "including proper utilization of lift/assist devices as the primary method for the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries in health care workers." The association advocates for regulations, legislation, education, training, research, and prevention activities related to safer patient handling activities and methodologies and says it will work to influence both state and national legislation as it relates to safe patient handling.
  • Respiratory Protection. AOHP advocates for increased research, training, and education related to respiratory protection from tuberculosis and other airborne respiratory transmissible diseases. The association has a collaborative relationship with NIOSH's National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh to further these aims.
  • Workplace Violence. AOHP supports implementing comprehensive violence prevention programs for specific risks in health care organizations or facilities. It says a comprehensive violence prevention program "must include a written program, management commitment, employee participation, hazard identification, safety and health training, and hazard prevention control and reporting." Through a Memorandum of Understanding with NIOSH, AOHP is participating in the development of an online educational program for nurses that will share best practices to reduce workplace violence.

For more information, call AOHP headquarters at 800-362-4347 or e-mail info@aohp.org.

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