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About the Global Initiative for Healthcare Worker Safety

The Global Initiative for Healthcare Worker Safety seeks to set a global standard for the protection of all healthcare workers from life-threatening bloodborne pathogens. Devices with engineered sharps injury protection are highly effective in reducing the risk of needlesticks and sharps injuries. We know that the combination of safer devices, hepatitis B vaccine and basic barrier garments can save lives. The challenge before us is to get protective devices and products into the hands of healthcare workers who need them most--in every corner of the globe.

So much as been accomplished, yet there is so much more to do. We believe our mission is vital--and realistic. Healthcare workers in every corner of the globe can be provided with the basic measures to protect them from life-threatening pathogens. We invite you to work with us in our common quest.

To find out how to become a supporting partner in the Global Initiative for Healthcare Worker Safety, please contact Janine Jagger, Director, or Jane Perry, Associate Director, International Healthcare Worker Safety Center, at 434-924-5159, or e-mail janeperry@virginia.edu.

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The historical contributions of the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center to the public health goal of reducing healthcare workers' occupational risk of infection from bloodborne pathogens include the following:

• 1988 Published a landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine that established the crucial role of product design in the causation of needlestick injuries. The study introduced the first product design criteria for reducing needlestick risk. These criteria were adopted by the FDA in 1992, establishing the standard definition of safety-engineered devices.

• 1992 Successfully petitioned the FDA to issue its first safety alert on needlestick risk, which advised against the use of hypodermic needles to connect or access I.V. ports. The alert triggered a rapid nation-wide transition to needle-free I.V. systems.

• 1992-93 Designed and launched the Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet), a sharps injury and blood exposure surveillance system that quickly became the most widely used such program in the U.S. The EPINet Multi-Hospital Blood Exposure Database, established by the Center in 1993, made blood exposure and device-specific sharps injury data available on a large scale for the first time.

• 1999 Successfully petitioned the FDA to issue a safety advisory on injury risks from glass capillary tubes. The advisory resulted in the elimination of glass microhematocrit tubes from the U.S. market within two years.

• 2000 Provided epidemiologic data to support passage of the U.S. Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000, the first national law in the world mandating safety-engineered sharps for the protection of healthcare workers. (Dr. Jagger was also present at the signing of the bill at the White House).

• 1993-2008 Worked with colleagues around the world to facilitate the international adoption of EPINet-- now used in 55 countries and setting a global standard for blood exposure surveillance. EPINet allows countries to compare data; drives national policy initiatives; and creates demand for effective prevention measures (including safety-engineered devices) in all regions of the world.

• 1999-2003 Conducted the multi-year U.S.-Japan Collaborative Program in Occupational Exposure Prevention. With support from the medical device industry, the Center trained a cadre of 20 Japanese healthcare professionals to establish a national EPINet surveillance network and set national policy for healthcare worker protection. By 2003, Japan was second only to the U.S. in availability of safety-engineered devices. By 2008 the Japan/EPINet surveillance network had grown to more than 1,000 hospitals.

Our work has been recognized in numerous ways--including financial support from more than two dozen medical device and pharmaceutical companies and GPOs. In 2000, Dr. Jagger was named a "MedTech Hero" by the medical device trade association, AdvaMed, for contributions to the medical device industry as a whole. In 2002, Dr. Jagger received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship for creativity in applying injury control methods and product design innovations to the prevention of an infectious disease risk.

Note to Visitors

As of January 2013, this website is no longer being
actively updated. It will continue to be accessible 
as a UVA site for its research and historical value.

The information and documents available on the site continue to be relevant for researchers in the area of sharps safety and protection of healthcare workers from bloodborne pathogen exposures.

EPINet Data for 2010 and 2011

Available here. 

Consensus Statement and Call to Action on Sharps Safety Released March 2012