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Setting a Global Standard for Healthcare Worker Protection

Healthcare workers are a crucial resource in all countries. But in many places, they are at high risk of acquiring preventable, life-threatening occupational infections.

We believe healthcare workers everywhere should be provided with the basic protections that have been shown to prevent exposures and infections. We believe that these measures should be mandatory, and should be provided free of charge to workers:


When considering such measures, many ask: Can we afford to pay?

We believe the right question is:
Can we afford not to?


Join us!
in the

Global Initiative for Healthcare Worker Safety
and Occupational Exposure Prevention

A forum for sharing research and best practices worldwide in the prevention of occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens

Healthcare workers are a critical resource in every corner of the globe. They are the infrastructure without which healthcare cannot exist. But in caring for us, they place themselves at risk daily of contracting life-threatening infections from bloodborne pathogens, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Needlesticks and sharps injuries are the most common cause of occupational infections, responsible for an estimated 1,000 HIV, 66,000 hepatitis B, and 16,000 hepatitis C cases annually around the globe. A significant number of additional occupational infections are caused by direct blood contact. In global regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, patients cared for by health workers are more likely than not to be infected with one or more bloodborne pathogens.

Devices with engineered sharps injury protection are highly effective in reducing the risk of needlesticks and sharps injuries. We know that a combination of safer devices, hepatitis B vaccine and basic barrier garments 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.

The mission of the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia is to set a global standard for the protection of all healthcare workers from life-threatening pathogens. We hope that you will join us in pursuit of this goal.

Who should use this site?

  • Occupational health and infection control practitioners looking for educational and training resources in needlestick prevention and sharps safety
  • Researchers looking for the latest articles and abstracts related to occupational exposure prevention, including bibliographies by global region and on specific topics
  • Hospital and healthcare administrators looking for information about EPINet, a sharps injury surveillance program
  • EPINet users worldwide who want to share data and ask technical questions

We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions for additions to this website. To submit a comment, please click here.

To learn more about the Center's Global Initiative for Healthcare worker Safety and Occupational Exposure Prevention, click here.



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