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Safe in Common's "The Unfinished Agenda: Addressing the Challenges" Crystalizes Call for Unified Protection Against Needlestick and Sharps Injuries

NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 1,150 global healthcare leaders and personnel registered for Safe in Common's online conference, "The Unfinished Agenda: Addressing the Challenges," as an on-going indication of the healthcare industry demand for unification surrounding protection from needlestick and sharps injuries.

As part of the non-profit organization's on-going series of events, Safe in Common convened a panel of experts on February 5th for an interactive discussion on how to minimize the risk of sharps-related injuries within the operating room (OR) and alternate care settings, the development of optimal selection criteria for engineered sharps devices, and the improved use of data to set priorities and improve exposure control plans. The event was a prime opportunity to field a series of topical polls designed to gauge the state of needlestick and sharps injury prevention. Among the findings was confirmation of industry estimates that less than one-quarter of operating rooms are standardized on blunt suture needles and that surgeons dominate the device buying decision.

When asked through an online poll during the event, more than 37 percent of attendees said "the greatest influence for selection of engineering controls for use in the OR" was "surgeons," followed by "collaborative process with all at-risk personnel represented" (33.6 percent), "purchasing/administration" (15.7 percent), "nursing" (9.7 percent) and "anesthesia" (4.1 percent). 

In reviewing the poll results, Dr. Mary Foley , Chairperson of Safe in Common, said: "The results of these events shows us that we are unifying and that awareness surrounding the need for needlestick- and sharps-related injury prevention is spreading rapidly throughout the healthcare industry, but adoption of safety-engineered devices is slow, and too many of us continue to face daily harm."

Other practices recommended by a panel of experts from The Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) include double gloving, the use of a neutral zone for passing, and the use of safety-engineered devices, yet none of these practices were being deployed by a majority of respondents.

Nearly 62 percent of the attendees said they are using sharps injury data in making purchasing decisions for medical devices. In a sign of progress, some 61 percent said that in 2012 they participated in an engineering control evaluation and/or annual exposure control plan review. Dr. Foley said "although 61% of the participants have been involved, we still have a lot of work to do to improve those numbers and grow awareness to 85% or greater – which is all evidence of the need to support the Unfinished Agenda Online Conference series."

An interactive edition of the online conference is available for replay on The event also featured unprecedented participation from a panel of experts:

  • Mary Ogg , MSN, RN, CNOR and Perioperative Nursing Specialist from The Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN)
  • Donna A. Ford , MSN, RN-BC, CNOR, Nursing Education Specialist, Division of Surgical Services, Department of Nursing, and an Assistant Professor of Nursing, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic; AORN National Clinical Nursing Practice Committee
  • Deborah Spratt MPA, BSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, CRCST, CHL, Manager of Sterile Processing at the Canandaigua VAMC in Canandaigua NY; AORN President
  • Angela Laramie , Epidemiologist with the Sharps Injury Surveillance Project in the Occupational Health Surveillance Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • June M. Fisher , MD, Clinical Professor in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine
  • Elise Handelman , Former Director of the Office of Occupational Health Nursing at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • William Hyman , Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering, Texas A&M University, past President of the Healthcare Technology Foundation

The key opinion leaders discussed a wide range of topics surrounding existing resources that can help prevent injuries as well as offered best practices to foster a culture of safety. While the panelists were able to weigh in on many of the questions, the majority of the inquiries are being answered by experts on Safe in Common's website:

Safe in Common is now accepting abstracts from the healthcare community who are interested in joining the organization during its next event, tentatively scheduled for May 29, 2013 That event will continue the efforts to increase dialogue on sharps injury prevention strategies and selection criteria for best of class devices aligned to procedural based safety needs of the caregiver. Please send an outline of a presentation you would like to be considered to

The online conference series is part of Safe in Common's ongoing efforts to spark innovation, awareness and change across the healthcare spectrum, with a core focus on the Needlestick Safety Pledge. The events are presented as part of Safe in Common's continued mission to unify and educate people about the risks of needlestick and sharps-related injuries.

About Safe in Common
Safe in Common is a non-profit organization established to enhance and save the lives of U.S. healthcare personnel at risk of harm from needlestick injuries. It is led by Chairperson Mary Foley , PhD, RN, former President of the American Nurses Association and other industry leaders. To learn more about the Needlestick Safety Pledge and its goal of promoting and strengthening the Federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, please visit and follow Safe in Common on Twitter at

Media Contact:
Joe McGurk / Caitlin Kasunich
KCSA Strategic Communications

SOURCE Safe in Common
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