oa Professional Nursing Today - Protecting South African healthcare personnel from blood-borne infection in the twenty-first century workplace : infection control

Volume 14, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1607-6672



South Africa is a country with a large population of persons living with blood-borne infection, ranging from hepatitis to HIV. Translated into exposure risk for healthcare workers, the reservoir of potential infection is incredible. To protect healthcare workers, an extensive international safety device and healthcare engineering industry has been born.

When the cost of basic safety becomes a factor, the best method of avoiding blood-borne infection is by avoiding needlestick injuries (NSI). This article reviews the traditional hierarchy of NSI control measures (in order of most effective to least effective), that includes the elimination of hazards, utilising engineered safety devices, applying administrative and procedure / clinical practice controls, providing personal protective clothing, and conducting ongoing product surveillance to check whether the safety measures are still required and / or applied correctly.
Lastly, the choice of safety devices is significant for healthcare workers, and factors such as user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness and ease of eradication is discussed shortly.

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