Extract: Each year Australian healthcare workers perform more than 2.2 million surgical procedures. Assuming that Australian surgical complication rates are similar to those of other developed countries it is likely between 3 to 17% of patients undertaking these procedures will incur a complication such as surgical site infection or even wrong surgery. Also alarming is the likely number of occupational exposures to blood and body fluid including needlestick injuries (NSI) which Australian healthcare workers (HCWs) and in particular perioperative nurses, routinely sustain. An early Australian study reported 2.53 NSIs per 1000 surgical procedures making NSIs one of the most significant occupational health and safety risks for operating room (OR) staff. The unresolved nature of these events,their high potential for harm and the substantial economic, financial and physical burdens they pose to healthcare consumers and providers compel us to better understand them.
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|Published - Dec 2012