Prevalence of Occupational Accidents/Injuries among Health Care Workers in a Federal Medical Centre in Southern Nigeria
BACKGROUND: Health care workers (HCWs) are prone to occupational accidents and injuries such as needle pricks in the course of their day to day activities in the health care setting.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of needle sticks and other occupational exposures among HCWs in a Nigerian tertiary hospital.
METHODS: This was a descriptive cross sectional design involving all the doctors, and all laboratory workers and a selection of nurses. A structured, pre-tested, selfadministered questionnaire was the tool for data collection.
RESULTS: A total of 167 HCWs made up of 47 (28.1%) doctors, 100 (59.9%) nurses and 20 (12.0%) laboratory workers were interviewed. Twenty -five (53.2%) doctors, 53 (53.0%) nurses and 10 (50.0%) laboratory workers making a total of 88 (52.7%) HCWs had had needle pricks, while 28 (59.6%) doctors, 53 (53.0%) nurses and 8 (40.0%) laboratory workers making a total of 89 (53.3%) have had blood splashes. A higher proportion of nurses 54 (54.0%) had cuts from drug ampoules
than doctors (34.0%) while 16 (36.2%) doctors had glove perforation during surgery compared to nine (9.0%) nurses. Only 43 (25.7%) HCWs reported to the staff clinic after sustaining accidents/injuries.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of needle sticks and other occupational accidents/injuries among HCWs in the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Nigeria is high. There is also a high rate of non-reporting of these injuries to relevant authorities. All health facilities should have a written injection safety policy and a post-exposure protocol and HCWs should be continually
educated on them. WAJM 2012; 31(1): 47–51.
Keywords: Needle sticks, accidents/injuries, health care workers, Federal Medical Centre.