2015 Sharps Injury Reporting Data
2015 Contaminated Sharps Injuries Report | Texas DSHS | Healthcare Safety Group | December 2017
Sharps injuries are of great public health significance in the U.S., and the prevention of percutaneous injuries and other blood exposures is a vital step in the prevention of the transmission of bloodborne viruses to healthcare personnel. A sharps injury occurs when any used sharp medical device such as a needle or scalpel accidentally punctures a healthcare worker. Texas has adopted a regulation analogous to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standards, notably the implementation of safe workplace practices, use of safety engineered devices, exposure protocols, and reporting measures. These laws and rules are defined in Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter H – Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan, and Texas Administrative Code Chapter 96 – Bloodborne Pathogen Control, 2017.
Public health in Texas is carried out by local and regional health departments. Contaminated sharps injuries are required to be reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) by governmental entities. When a blood exposure incident occurs, the chief administrative officer of a covered facility is required to submit a “contaminated sharps injury report form” to the local health authority, or to the Department of State Health Services regional office if no local authority exists. After a review for completeness, the form is sent to the DSHS Infectious Disease Control Unit in Austin where it is compiled with other injury reports.
The 2015 contaminated sharps injuries published on this webpage have been submitted by governmental entities during calendar year 2015 and are reported by Public Health Region with the total for Texas included in each table.
Data limitations and caveats in these reports include the following:
- The data in these reports represent only sharps injuries reported from governmental units in Texas and therefore is not representative of all health care facilities in Texas.
- Sharps injuries are known to be under-reported. Therefore, these reports likely underestimates the total number of sharps injuries that occurred in governmental units in 2015.
- Data is not displayed for any cell size five or less in order to protect the privacy of the individuals involved in the incidents reported.
- The total number of times a sharp medical device was used in each facility is not reported, so there is no way to determine if differences in responses correlate with one variable being more or less likely to incur a sharps injury. For example, with regard to the brand of sharps, the frequency of a particular brand associated with injuries in these reports does not necessarily mean there is a problem with that brand of sharp; rather it could mean it is the one most widely used in the reporting facilities.