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April 05, 2017
NIOSH announces tracking methods for health worker incidents

Hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare employers are required to track sharps incidents and blood and body fluid exposures. New software modules from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) make it easier to analyze this essential data and use it to plan and monitor interventions.

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The modules are part of the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN), a free, web-based injury and exposure monitoring system created for healthcare systems by NIOSH. Participants voluntarily contribute injury data like date, location, description, days away from work, and other information collected in OSHA logs. The system presents the data visually with easy-to-read charts.

OHSN allows participants to determine the root cause for each incident and identify trends. The information identify job titles at highest risk of injury in their own facility, develop interventions, and objectively measure the impact of those interventions over time.

Other software modules in the OHSN system track slips, trips, and falls, patient handling injuries, and workplace violence. OHSN is currently used by healthcare facilities in 20 states.

Said NIOSH director John Howard, MD, “An annual survey of OHSN users shows overwhelming support for a system that helps mitigate high-risk aspects of the healthcare industry and guides prevention efforts.”

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