Cross-sectional survey of a sample of UK primary care dental professionals' experiences of sharps injuries and perception of access to occupational health support

K. M.A. Trayner*, L. Hopps, M. Nguyen, M. Christie, J. Bagg, K. Roy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background The 2013 Sharps Regulations were introduced to minimise the risk of sharps injuries and blood borne virus transmission throughout healthcare. Occupational health (OH) services are pivotal for helping employers implement these regulations. Despite this, no research has been conducted on the prevalence of sharps injuries, underreporting of injuries or access to OH among primary care dental professionals in the UK since 2013. Aim To estimate the prevalence of sharps injuries, the level of underreporting and of self-reported access to an OH service both for the care of sharps injuries and for general health and wellbeing. Method A cross-sectional survey was administered at the 2017 British Dental Association (BDA) Conference and Exhibition in Manchester, and at the 2017 BDA Scottish Conference and Exhibition in Glasgow. The survey covered questions relating to sharps injuries and OH support. Statistical analyses were conducted using SPSS Version 22 (IBM Corp., 2013). Results A total of 796 delegates participated, of whom 166 (20.8%) had experienced a sharps injury in the past year and 58 (35%) did not report the incident. Of the participants, 190 (23.9%) reported no, or uncertain, access to OH support. Most respondents’ practices had a sharps safety policy (771; 96.9%), but fewer (611; 76.8%) had received training on the prevention of sharps injuries and neither policy nor training were associated with incident reporting. Conclusion Despite the introduction of the sharps regulations, sharps injuries and underreporting of injuries remain prevalent among those practising in primary dental care. Our results also suggest that there are significant shortfalls in OH support, at a time when changes to guidance on health clearance and management of BBV infected healthcare workers, in addition to sharps injury management, increase the need for such services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1028
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Volume225
Issue number11
Early online date30 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • occupational health (OH) services
  • sharps
  • dental professionals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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