Prevention of scalpel blade injuries: Staff ignorance of the Australian/New Zealand Standard
Dennis Tseng, Michael Sinnott, James Collier, Daryl Wall and Michael Whitby
Australian Infection Control
10(3) 89 - 94
Background: The objectives of this study were to (1) Assess staff knowledge of Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 3825:1998), 'Procedures and devices for the removal and disposal of scalpel blades from scalpel handles'; (2) Determine compliance with this standard within a tertiary hospital setting. Methods: Knowledge of and compliance with AS/NZS 3825:1998 (the Standard) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital was determined by a non standardised, de-identified cross sectional survey. The sampling frame was clinical staff working in areas where scalpel blades and reusable scalpel handles were in common usage (as defined by data from the hospital's purchasing department). Results: A total of 96 medical and nursing personnel completed the survey. No staff member was able to describe the Standard completely. Only 16% (5/30) of medical staff and 19% (13/66) of nursing staff surveyed were able to describe the AS/NZS 3825:1998 in part. It was determined that only 3.3% (1/30) of medical and 1.5% (1/66) of nursing staff were routinely utilising a safe method for the removal of scalpel blades. Conclusion: Within the study hospital there is a deficiency in the knowledge of AS/NZS 3825:1998. The majority of currently employed methods for removing used scalpel blades from reusable scalpel handles in this setting do not comply with this Standard.
Full text doi:10.1071/HI05089
© Australian Infection Control Association 2005