CHICAGO — Virtually everyone responding to this month’s Wire survey equips their laundry/linen workers to prevent injuries from sharps, but none of them use equipment or tools to detect sharps in bags of soiled linen or garments before laundry workers handle them.
Only 3.3% of respondents say they don’t provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, etc., to their workers.
Every laundry represented in the survey conducts worker training in how to avoid sharps injuries and report them if they occur, as well as utilizes special containers designed to store sharps safely for disposal.
Twenty percent of respondents say their laundry/linen operations have experienced a sharps-related injury within the last two years. Among those, almost all were caused by needlesticks. None of the employees involved tested positive for HIV.
“Laundry loses time and productivity, as well as our concern for our employees’ well-being,” says one respondent. “We keep track of where all sharps are received from and send monthly reports with pictures to our linen customers. Customers are to do internal investigations in an effort to eliminate this problem.”
When asked to rate their operation’s efforts to protect workers from sharps injuries, 40% said "Excellent," 50% said “Above average” and 10% said “Average.” No one who responded considered their efforts to be “Below average” or “Poor.”
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