AIMS: To determine the national self-reported incidence and risk factors for NSI among Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) HCWs.
METHODS: Using data from the MOH national sharps injury surveillance programme, information on reported NSIs over a 1-year period (2016) for different HCW subgroups were extracted and analysed.
RESULTS: A total of 1234 NSI cases were reported in 2016, giving an overall incidence of 6 injuries per 1000 HCWs. Medical doctors recorded the highest incidence (21.1 per 1000 HCWs) followed by dental staff (7.5), pharmacy staff (4.2), nurses (3.7), medical assistants (3.4) and allied and auxiliary staff (1.0). Doctors had significantly increased risk of NSI compared with allied and auxiliary staff (relative risk [RR] = 20.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 15.5-27.5), medical assistants (RR = 6.1, 95% CI 4.5-8.2), nurses (RR = 5.7, 95% CI 5.0-6.6), pharmacy staff (RR = 5.0, 95% CI 3.7-6.6) and dental staff (RR = 2.8, 95% CI 2.2-3.5). Significant differences were found in age and sharps- handling experience between occupational subgroups (P < 0.001 for both variables). Male employees had higher risk than females (RR = 1.33, 95% CI 1.18-1.50), with a significant difference seen in their sharps-handling experience (P < 0.01). Important risk factors included unsafe practices such as recapping of needles and their improper disposal.
CONCLUSIONS: The national incidence of NSI amongst Malaysian HCWs was lower compared with other countries, but unsafe practices remain an important concern. There is a need to formulate, implement and monitor safe and consistent practices for the different healthcare professionals.