The prevalence and underreporting of needlestick injuries among hospital workers: A cross-sectional study

Hilla Bahat, Adi Hasidov-Gafni, Ilan Youngster, Michael Goldman, Osnat Levtzion-Korach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Needlestick and sharps injuries (NSIs) are known occupational risks among health-care workers. Reporting these injuries is important for early prevention and management of blood-borne infections. We investigated the prevalence and characteristics of NSIs and underreporting among hospital workers (HWs) from different sectors. Methods: A single-center cross-sectional study, involving an anonymous survey delivered to 2205 HWs. The survey included demographic information about the worker and information about training, injuries and reporting. Results: Of the 844 HWs respondents (40%), NSIs occurred in 443 of them (53%); the majority were from needles (68%) and at bedside (51%). Significantly higher prevalences of injuries (P < 0.001) were noted among physicians (75%) and workers in their 40s (61%) and in the emergency and surgical departments (66% and 55%, respectively). NSIs were reported among 28% of workers who did not directly use needles. Underreporting was found in 46%, with a significant decrease in the report rate as the number of injuries increased (P < 0.001). Underreporting was significantly more common (P < 0.001) among physicians (59%), especially seniors (72%), workers without training about NSIs (59%), older age groups (56% in workers above 51 years, P = 0.003) and males (54%, P = 0.01). The highest underreporting rate was in injuries occurring in the operating room and the lowest in witnessed injuries occurring while passing a needle (82% vs. 31%, P < 0.001). Conclusions: NSIs and underreporting are common among HWs from all sectors, including those who do not use needles. Improving preventive measures and reporting should be encouraged. We recommend reducing bedside procedures as possible and assigning two workers to procedures at risk for injuries, to increase the report rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbermzab009
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


  • hospital workers
  • injury
  • needles
  • sharps
  • underreporting
  • Prevalence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needlestick Injuries/epidemiology
  • Hospitals
  • Aged
  • Personnel, Hospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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