Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Original Article

Awareness of safety protocols for prevention of needle stick injuries in anaesthesiologists from Maharashtra

A survey study

Yadav, Shilpi; Vyas, Varsha1,; Hazari, Shruti2; Gehdoo, RP3; Patil, Surekha4

Author Information
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia: April 2020 - Volume 64 - Issue 4 - p 306-309
doi: 10.4103/ija.IJA_808_19
  • Open



Percutaneous injuries caused by needle sticks and other sharps are a serious concern for anaesthesiologists and pose a significant risk of occupational transmission of blood borne pathogens.[1] A needle stick injury (NSI) poses a serious risk of transmission of various blood borne pathogens.[2]

Because needle stick injuries are often underreported, healthcare institutions should not interpret low reporting rate as low injury rate. Injuries recorded through standard occupational reporting systems may underestimate the true injury rate, as much as 10-fold.[3]

The World Health Report 2002 estimates that 4.4% of HIV, 37.0% of HBV, and 39.0% of HCV cases among healthcare workers (HCW) worldwide are the result of occupational exposures.[4] These injuries not only potentiate health consequences but also cause emotional distress in HCWs which results in missed workdays and directly affects the health care services and resources.[5]

Preventing NSI is an essential part of any blood borne pathogen prevention programme in a healthcare setting. This survey attempts to identify the prevalence of NSI amongst anaesthesiologists and understand their awareness of safety protocols required to prevent NSIs.


This cross-sectional survey study was conducted between August 2019 and October 2019 and responders included qualified anaesthesiologists across the state of Maharashtra, India.

The objective of the survey was to assess the prevalence of NSI and awareness of safety protocols for its prevention amongst the responding anaesthesiologists. The study was approved by the institutional ethics committee.

All participants had to complete an 18-item self-administered questionnaire [Table 1] consisting of 11 knowledge-based items, five awareness-based items and last two questions for suggestions and recommendations. The questionnaire was designed and validated to include 16 items out of the original 20 items. Principal component analysis was done for construction of questionnaire which returned six components based on their factor loadings. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of the final 16-item questionnaire was 0.750 (95% CI 0.554–0.884, P < 0.0001) and the Cronbach's alpha was 0.750. The final questionnaire items included information on the awareness of safety protocols and immediate measure after NSI, knowledge of immunisation and safety practices followed in routine practice. This pre-validated and pre-tested questionnaire was administered using Google forms and the link was circulated amongst anaesthesiologists electronically (e-mail, WhatsApp, Telegram messenger). The survey was sent to about 1,350 potential responders registered with the Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists (ISA), Maharashtra branch over a period of 2 weeks. Reminder communications were sent after 1 week of initial communication. Data from Google forms were collected, tabulated and coded in Microsoft Excel and data analysis was done using windows-based 'MedCalc Statistical Software' version 19.0.3 (MedCalc Software bvba, Ostend, Belgium;;2019). Descriptives are presented for the different items and prevalence of NSI. Comparison of prevalence of NSI in subgroups based on gender, period of experience and type of practice were analysed using Chi-square test.

Table 1:
Responses of anaesthesiologists with duration of practice


The response rate for the survey was 29.8% (403/1350), and there were more males and a greater number of private practitioners amongst the responders. The prevalence of NSI's in different subgroups is presented in Table 2, whereas the responses to all items are presented in Table 1. Overall prevalence of NSI was 73.7% with males accounting for a higher prevalence (77.4%) than females (71.1%). However, the differences were not significant (P = 0.1695). Similarly, the NSI prevalence is similar in those having private practice, those in a medical college and those with both (P > 0.05). The NSI prevalence is higher in those with a longer duration of practice (P = 0.014), with a higher number of repeat injuries in those with longer practice duration (P = 0.007). The awareness was similar in different groups based on the practice duration (P > 0.05). It is noteworthy that only 62.8% anaesthesiologists were aware of the reporting protocols. About 54.8% anaesthesiologists reported that their institution/hospital runs educational programme regarding NSI [Table 1].

Table 2:
Profile of responders


This survey study was conducted to understand the awareness and knowledge related to NSI amongst anaesthesiologists across Maharashtra state. In a prevalence study by Bashir et al. (2019) the NSI prevalence reported in Tamil Nadu is 28.0%.[6] In another study conducted by Rampal et al. (2010) from Malaysia, reported an NSI prevalence of 23.5% in healthcare workers.[7] In our study, we observed a very high prevalence of 73.7% for NSI amongst anaesthesiologists in Maharashtra which is alarmingly high. A study from Delhi reported doctors to have the highest exposure rate of 73.7% compared to only 19.1% in nurses.[8] In our study, NSI was higher in females but not significant statistically. This is contrast to the study conducted by Goel et al. (2017), who reported predominance amongst males (59.9%, n = 285) in all healthcare workers.[8] We found greater NSI prevalence amongst anaesthesiologists having longer duration of practice. However, in the study conducted by Rampal et al. (2010), the NSI prevalence reported was 23.1% in >10 years of experience and 25.4% in <10 years of experience which is very less as compared to our findings.[7] Our findings are similar to the findings reported by Mondal et al. (2013) who reported 41% NSI prevalence in their life.[9] Although recapping of needles has been prohibited under the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) blood-borne pathogen standards,[10] our results show that 13.9% responders are still unaware of this practice.

We observed good awareness (87.8%) about HIV testing after post-exposure prophylaxis. This is higher compared to Khan et al. in medical staff who reported it in only 49.0%.[11] We have observed 60% of the participants are aware about correct, immediate measures to be taken after NSI. Other studies report different awareness amongst healthcare professionals with a 10% awareness reported by Motavaf et al. (2014),[12] and 70% by Jahangiri (2016).[13] In our survey, 50.1% responders reported use of antiseptic and 25.6% squeezing of puncture as an immediate measure after NSI. Jahangiri et al. (2016)[13] reported that only 11% professionals report pressing the NSI site as immediate measure and only 6.2% washing injury site with disinfection. Thus, the awareness of anaesthesiologists is less compared to those reported by Jahangiri et al. (2016).[13] Most responders (94.0%) in our study reported that after NSI the wound should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. This contrasts with the findings of Motavaf et al. (2014) who report that only 10.2% of participants agreed that washing with soap and water is the first step after contact with infective materials.[12]

Motavaf et al. (2014)[12] reported that 32.2% people with NSI report NSI to the concerned authority, whereas 73.0% of our study responders reported that they will report the NSI. In the Kotwal et al. (2010) study 60% doctors and 38% nurses reported that the needles should not be recapped after use, whereas 86.1% anaesthesiologists in our survey reported the same.[14] This supports that fact that anaesthesiologists are relatively more rational in their practice.[15]

Zafar et al. (2009) reported the impact of infection control activities on the rate of needle stick injuries at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan over a period of 6 years.[16] Thus, there is a need for inclusion of topics on NSI prevention and management in healthcare curriculum, and Chakravarthy (2010)[17] recommends that improvement in awareness should be brought about by discussing NSIs not only in anaesthesia conferences but also by inculcating the same in the syllabus of anaesthesia trainees. Also, anaesthesiologist's knowledge of risk of HIV and infections is a necessity.[18]

Limitations of our study include the responders which were only form Maharashtra state and a small responder sample. Also, there is a possible confounding due to the study design and the way responses were collected. In-person interview method would have possibly yielded correct responses.


The prevalence of NSIs is alarmingly high amongst anaesthesiologists and there is an immediate need of creating awareness and practice safety protocols in routine practice. Training and education are required in the formative years of healthcare curriculum.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1. Muralidhar S, Singh PK, Jain RK, Malhotra M, Bala M. Needle stick injuries among health care workers in a tertiary care hospital of India Indian J Med Res. 2010;131:405–10
2. Wilburn SQ. Needle sticks and sharps injury prevention Online J Issues Nurs. 2004;9:5
3. Elder A, Paterson C. Sharps injuries in UK health care: A review of injury rates, viral transmission and potential efficacy of safety devices Occup Med. 2006;56:566–74
4. Pruss-Ustun A, Rapiti E, Hutin Y Sharps injuries: Global burden of disease from sharps injuries to health-care workers. 2003 Geneva World Health Organization WHO Environmental Burden of Disease Series, No 3
5. Sharma R, Rasania SK, Verma A, Singh S. Study of prevalence and response to needle stick injuries among health care workers in a Tertiary care hospital in Delhi, India Indian J Community Med. 2010;35:74–7
6. Bashir H, Qadri SS. A study on needle stick injuries among health care workers in a tertiary care hospital in India Int J Res Med Sci. 2019;7:1032–8
7. Rampal L, Zakaria A, Whye Sook L, Md Zain A. Needle stick and sharps injuries and factors associated among health care workers in a Malaysian hospital Eur J Soc Sci. 2010;13:354–62
8. Goel V, Kumar D, Lingaiah R, Singh S. Occurrence of needlestick and injuries among health-care workers of a Tertiary care teaching hospital in North India J Lab Physicians. 2017;9:20–5
9. Mondal J. NSI: A major occupational hazards among the health care workers in Nepal Int J Occup Safety Health. 2013;39:22–5
10. . Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Final rule on occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens Fed Reg. 1991;56:64004
11. Khan AZ, Duncan KM, Escofet X, Miles WF. Do we need to improve awareness about HIV post exposure prophylaxis? Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2002;84:72–3
12. Motavaf M, Mohaghegh Dolatabadi MR, Ghodraty MR, Siamdoust SA, Safari S, Mohseni M. Anaesthesia personnel's knowledge of, attitudes toward, and practice to prevent needlestick injuries. Workplace Health Saf 2014;62:250–5
13. Jahangiri M, Rostamabadi A, Hoboubi N, Tadayon N, Soleimani A. Needle stick injuries and their related safety measures among nurses in a university hospital, Shiraz, Iran.Saf Health Work. 2016;7:72–7
14. Anupam Kotwal A, Taneja DK. Health care workers and universal precautions: Perceptions and determinants of non-compliance Indian J Community Med. 2010;35:526–8
15. Karim HM, Yunus M, Bhattacharyya P. An observational cohort study on pre-operative investigations and referrals: How far are we following recommendations? Indian J Anaesth. 2016;60:552–9
16. Zafar A, Habib F, Hadwani R, Ejaz M, Khowaja K, Khowaja R, et al Impact of infection control activities on the rate of needle stick injuries at a tertiary care hospital of Pakistan over a period of six years: An observational study BMC Infect Dis. 2009;9:78
17. Chakravarthy M. Enhanced risk of needlestick injuries and exposure to blood and body fluids to cardiac anaesthesiologists: Need for serious introspection Ann Card Anaesth. 2010;13:1–2
18. Parthasarathy S, Ravishankar M. HIV and anaesthesia Indian J Anaesth. 2007;51:91–9

Anaesthesiologists; needle stick injuries; safety protocol

© 2020 Indian Journal of Anaesthesia | Published by Wolters Kluwer – Medknow