Experts Speak Out

Sharps safety has fallen off the radar and there is a complacency to the extent that there will probably be a resurgence in injuries simply because there is no one to strongly advocate [for better technology].
    —Mary Foley, RN, MS, PhD, past president, American Nurses Association, Nov. 2010

We know too many health care professionals are still at risk of a sharps injury and that more work needs to be done.
    —Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN - President, American Nurses Associantion, Nov. 2010

Hospital Leader to OSHA: Improve Now!

Gene O'ConnellBy GENE O’CONNELL – RN, MS
Past Chair of National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
Past CEO of San Francisco General Hospital

July 14, 2010

Mr. Jordan Barab
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Occupational Safety and Health
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20210

RE: Bloodborne Pathogen Standard Review, July 2010

Dear Secretary Barab:

I am the former chair of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, and was the CEO of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center for over a decade before retiring in March of last year. San Francisco General is one of the nation’s top tertiary academic medical centers and safety net institutions, and has received numerous national awards including the 2008 American Medical Association Ethical Force Programs Awards for its patient centered communications initiative as well as recognition for many advances in emergency care and HIV treatment and research.

It is in everyone’s best interest that the United States has the most up-to-date and innovative technology that fully supports patient and health care workers’ safety.


"Knowing Needle Position Is Essential to Safety"

Safety Expert, Premier, Inc.

Needlestick injuries can occur at any time during the use or disposal of a needle or sharp device. While many injuries occur after device use and during disposal, up to 40 percent of injuries occur during use. During use injuries can be some of the most difficult to prevent. Most needlestick safety devices are designed to protect the sharp either before or after use; however a needle while in use is necessarily unprotected.

Needlestick safety devices or engineering controls; therefore, offer little protection against injuries that occur during a procedure. Work practice controls have been the primary method to reduce during procedure needlestick injuries. Such methods include:


Defining Passive in Safety-Engineered Medical Devices: A National Overview

Senior industrial hygienist at the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA
(specializing in national regulatory enforcement issues)

OSHA National Bloodborne Pathogens Coordinator.

Copyright 2009 by Virgo Publishing.

Occupational exposure to sharps contaminated with bloodborne pathogens continues to be an occupational health and safety concern among workers providing patient care. Sharps injuries have been substantially reduced in acute-care settings through increased awareness, thorough training, and technological advancement of safety engineered needles on syringes, blood collection devices, IV insertion sets and lancets. Within these families of devices, there have been multiple generations of safety designs that require the user to actively slide a sheath, flip a clip, advance a plunger, or add an extra aggressive push. Today, there are very few safety-engineered medical devices that require no active step to make a device safer during use, after use and prior to disposal. This brief report is an analysis of current national guidance for passivity in safety engineered medical devices.


"As a Nurse for 35 Years..."


As a Nurse for 35 years I feel great pride to be a part of something so wondrous and ever changing as the medical field. The speed with which our medical science innovations have developed during my nursing career is extraordinary! It has also been wonderful to participate in the attitude changes that have taken place over the years. Patients have become much more active in their health care and thanks to the internet are much more informed when they see a physician. Patients are asking very detailed and intelligent questions and are now used to making information based decisions about their health and are active participants in their health care. Interestingly, we (I include myself) have never really questioned getting our blood drawn. None of us like it (some less than others) and none of us would let anyone poke a hole in us if we didn’t think it was absolutely necessary. So we each reluctantly stick our arms out and hope the person doing it knows what they are doing.


Nurses' Champion to Congress: Update OSHA Regs

Gene O'Connell

Past Chair of National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
Past CEO of San Francisco General Hospital.

An open letter to:

Congressman Frank Pallone
Healthcare Sub-Committee Chair
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20515

Dear Congressman Pallone,

I commend Senator Waxman’s Sub-committee hearings on Medical Devices on June 18, 2009 as a critical component of healthcare reform to bring before Congress issues of regulatory oversight to ensure safe, cost effective medical devices that provide better healthcare.

Nowhere in the transcript of testimonies by the four prominent witnesses on June 18, 2009 was there mention of the historic U.S. Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act 2000. Internationally, this uniquely American legislation is the foundation for parliamentary discussions of healthcare reform around the world. The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act is held as the highest standard of humanistic and wisdom-filled governance to ensure patient and healthcare safety.