Skip links and keyboard navigation

Reporting and surveillance

Sharps safety programs should include the process of reporting any occupational exposure occurrences to key stakeholders so that effectiveness of the program can be monitored and evaluated.

A process for notification of the occurrence of an occupational exposure should be in place within each facility refer Queensland Health Guideline for Management of Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids (PDF, 247kB).

In order to report incidence rates and adequately measure effectiveness of interventions, facilities should collect accurate numerator (e.g. occupational exposures to blood and body fluids) and denominator data (e.g. full-time-equivalent [FTE] staff).

Data on sharps injuries should be analysed and interpreted to inform prevention planning:

  • The date of introduction of safety devices should be recorded on the surveillance plan to measure the effectiveness of the interventions.
  • Post-implementation, occupational exposures should be analysed and reported regularly to the appropriate committee with responsibility for monitoring occupational exposures.
  • Annual rates of occupational exposures should be calculated using the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions for each year as the denominator e.g. exposure type per 100 FTE.
Surveillance of occupational exposures is different to other types of healthcare-associated infection surveillance.  It is a passive process that requires a staff member to voluntarily report an exposure incident.   It is therefore important to note that an increase in numbers may be a reflection of increased reporting as opposed to increased incidents of needle stick injuries. Periodic reviews should be used to measure reporting compliance and healthcare worker knowledge of procedures for reporting needle stick injuries e.g. standardised, anonymous questionnaire survey to determine reporting rate of needle stick injuries.
Last updated: 13 May 2015