Hospital bloodborne pathogens programs: Program characteristics and blood and body fluid exposure rates

Susan E. Beekmann, Thomas E. Vaughn, Kimberly D. McCoy, Kristi J. Ferguson, James C. Torner, Robert F. Woolson, Bradley N. Doebbeling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To describe hospital practices and policies relating to bloodborne pathogens and current rates of occupational exposure among healthcare workers. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: Hospitals in Iowa and Virginia were surveyed in 1996 and 1997 about Standard Precautions training programs and compliance. The primary outcome measures were rates of percutaneous injuries and mucocutaneous exposures. RESULTS: 153 (64%) of 240 hospitals responded. New employee training was offered no more than twice per year by nearly one third. Most (79%-80%) facilities monitored compliance of nurses, housekeepers, and laboratory technicians; physicians rarely were trained or monitored. Implementation of needlestick prevention devices was the most common action taken to decrease sharps injuries. Over one half of hospitals used needleless intravenous systems; larger hospitals used these significantly more often. Protected devices for phlebotomy or intravenous placement were purchased by only one third. Most (89% of large and 80% of small) hospitals met the recommended infection control personnel-to-bed ratio of 1:250. Eleven percent did not have access to postexposure care during all working hours. Percutaneous injury surveillance relied on incident reports (99% of facilities) and employee health records (61%). The annual reported percutaneous injury incidence rate from 106 hospitals was 5.3 injuries per 100 personnel. Compared to single tertiary-referral institution rates determined more than 5 years previously, current injury rates remain elevated in community hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare institutions need to commit sufficient resources to Standard Precautions training and monitoring and to infection control programs to meet the needs of all workers, including physicians. Healthcare workers clearly remain at risk for injury. Further effective interventions are needed for employee training, improving adherence, and providing needlestick prevention devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Hospital bloodborne pathogens programs: Program characteristics and blood and body fluid exposure rates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this