Sharp Injuries Among Hospital Waste Handlers
Background: Health care workers are generally predisposed to injuries from sharps as a health hazard. This is more pronounced among waste handlers.
Objective: It is therefore important to assess these injuries among this group of people with a view to identifying the risk factors and suggesting preventive methods.
Methods: Questionnaires were administered to People handling wastes in our hospital to assess their level of education on injury prevention, immunization status and preventive methods used by them to prevent these injuries and subsequent infections.
Results: Forty three waste handlers were interviewed. Twenty eight (65.8%) of them received training before commencing on the job while 14 (32.5%) never received any training. Only thirty nine (90.7%) of them always use hand gloves before carrying wastes. Only three (7.0%) of the respondents have been screened for Hepatitis B, 19 (44.2%) for HIV, while 10 (23.3%) were screened for Hepatitis B, C, and HIV. Eleven (25.6%) of them have been injured with sharps. The finger was the most injured in 7 (93%) of them.
Conclusion: Training and re-training of health workers is important and should be encouraged. All health workers should have pre-employment immunization against Hepatitis B, C as well as other before commencing on their jobs. Workers should be screened for infective diseases that can be of legal problem while at the job and the workers should be effectively immunized.
Key words: sharp injuries, waste, handlers, hospital.