Nurses Come Together to Fight Needlestick Injuries

Three Washington state nursing and health care worker organizations join forces to support needlestick injury prevention legislation.

Washington state's three largest nursing and health care worker organizations are joining forces to support needlestick injury prevention legislation.

Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), Service Employee International Union (SEIU), and United Staff Nurses Union Local 141 of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) all support S.B. 6416.

The three organizations represent more than 22,000 nurses and health care workers in the state.

S.B. 6416 received its first hearing this session in the Senate Health Care Committee on Monday.

S.B. 6416 requires that:

  • safe needle systems be established for standard uses unless workers determine they would jeopardize employee or patient safety;
  • employers have a written injury control plan that would be updated annually;
  • front-line worker participation in selection and evaluation of various engineer control products; and
  • employers maintain a detailed needlestick injury log.

"I am so pleased that we are all rallying together around this important issue. Senate Bill 6416 is the right thing to do," said Jan Bussert, RN, president of WSNA. "Unless we can ensure the safety of our care givers, how can we promote wellness for our patients?"

With more than 43,000 needlesticks annually in Washington state alone, the risk of a healthcare worker getting stuck by a needle is very high.

Nationally, approximately 1,000 workers contract Hepatitis B, C, or HIV from needlestick injuries and of those approximately 100 people die annually.

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