Workers' compensation claims for needlestick injuries among healthcare workers in Washington State, 1996-2000

Syed M. Shah, David Bonauto, Barbara Silverstein, Michael Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To characterize accepted workers' compensation claims for needlestick injuries filed by healthcare workers (HCWs) in non-hospital compared with hospital settings in Washington State. DESIGN: Descriptive study of all accepted workers' compensation claims filed between 1996 and 2000 for needlestick injuries. PARTICIPANTS: All Washington State HCWs eligible to file a state fund workers' compensation claim and those who filed a workers' compensation claim for a needlestick injury. RESULTS: There were 3,303 accepted state fund HCW needlestick injury claims. The incidence of needlestick injury claims per 10,000 full-time-equivalent HCWs in hospitals was 158.6; in dental offices, 104.7; in physicians' offices, 87.0; and in skilled nursing facilities, 80.8. The most common mechanisms of needlestick injury by work location were as follows: for hospitals, suturing and other surgical procedures (16.7%), administering an injection (12.7%), and drawing blood (10%); for dentists' offices, recapping (21.3%) and cleaning trays and instruments (18.2%); for physicians' offices, disposal (22.2%) and administering an injection (10.2%); and for skilled nursing facilities, disposal (23.7%) and administering an injection (14.9%). Nurses accounted for the largest (29%) proportion of HCWs involved, followed by dental assistants (17%) and laboratory technicians and phlebotomists (12%) in non-hospital settings. Rates of needlestick injury claims increased for non-hospital settings by 7.5% annually (95% confidence interval [CI95], 4.89% to 10.22%; P < .0001). Rates decreased for hospital settings by 5.8% annually, but the decline was not statistically significant (CI95, -12.50% to 1.34%; P < .1088). HCWs were exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency viruses in non-hospital settings. CONCLUSION: There was a difference in the incidence rate and mechanisms of needlestick injuries on review of workers' compensation claim records for HCWs in non-hospital and hospital settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-781
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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