What is a needlestick injury?

  • Needlestick and Sharp Injuries (NSIs) are accidental skin penetrating wounds caused by sharp instruments in a medical setting.
  • A break of skin can be from a needle or other “sharp” such as a scalpel / glass.

Epidemiology of NSI

  • Infections are caused by needlestick injuries
  • An injury from a contaminated needle exposes workers to bloodborne pathogens that can cause serious or fatal infections.
  • The most serious infections are:
    • HIV
    • Hepatitis B
    • Hepatitis C
  • HCW must ensure that he/she should receive proper follow-up medical care after NSI.
  • EPInet report of 1999 estimates that about 0.8 million NSIs occur per years in America alone.
  • Another report mentioned that on global level NSI affects about 3.5 million individuals per year.
  • More than half of these injuries are never reported.
  • One should always report injuries to employer immediately.
  • EPInet report of 1999 also mentions that on an average about 30 NSIs occur, per 100 beds per year.
  • A current survey showed despite all prevention efforts, incidence of NSI still remained at 27 NSIs occur, per 100 beds per year.

Where do these injuries occur?


These injuries have been reported from all healthcare settings, including:

  • Ambulatory settings.
  • Physician offices.
  • Nursing homes.
  • Skilled nursing facilities.
  • Home health care.
  • Hospitals.