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Help reduce sharps injuries in diabetes

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Nurses in diabetes settings are prone to injury Nurses in diabetes settings are prone to injury from sharps

Health workers in diabetes care settings are at risk of sharps injuries, but most are preventable via elective training, safer working procedures and safety-engineered medical devices. The European Directive on sharp injuries prevention provides a chance to establish a mandatory framework to eliminate sharp injuries, and must be incorporated into national law in all EU member states by 11 May 2013 at the latest.

Complementing this directive, WISE (Workshop on Injection Safety in Endocrinology) has published global recommendations informed by the results of a survey on sharps injuries among 634 nurses from 13 western European countries and Russia, plus the outcome of the October 2011 workshop, which brought together 58 international safety experts in the field of diabetes safety from 13 countries.

The WISE recommendations provide a roadmap for implementing the EU Directive in diabetes and include a scale showing the strength of the recommendations. Topics covered include risks of sharps injury and muco- cutaneous exposure; the EU Directive; device implications; injection technique implications; education and training; value, awareness and responsibility.

By continuing implementation of safe work practices and carrying out risk assessment procedures, risk elimination, training on safe use and disposal of devices and awareness of consequences of sharps injuries, a significant reduction in the number of injuries can be achieved.

Nurses have a pivotal role in assessing risks and evaluating new safety devices in their clinical areas. The WISE safety recommendations provide practical guidance and fill an important gap in diabetes management. These have been adapted for the UK by the Forum for Injection Technique (FIT) which has developed the FIT4Safety Injection Safety in UK and Ireland; Safety of Sharps in Diabetes Recommendations 1st Edition. If followed, they should help ensure safe, effective, injury- free injections and fingersticks

Dr Debra Adams, programme specialist healthcare associated infection, NHS Midlands and East and member of the WISE Consensus Group, FIT-4 Safety

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