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Study reveals needlestick injury rates for waste recovery workers

Over half of surveyed facilities reported seeing needles at least weekly

Posted September 11, 2018

Needlestick injuries at waste recovery facilities occur at a rate of 2.7 per 100 workers, according to a report from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). Findings indicate an estimated 781 to 1,484 needlestick injuries may occur each year at such facilities, which could result in over $2 million in direct costs for treatment, prevention, and patient monitoring.

The study surveyed waste recovery facility owners on needlestick occurrences at their facilities, and 53 percent of those reported having observed needles daily or a few times a week. Over half of the facilities observed needles mixed with plastics. Workers on the picking line experienced the highest number of needlestick incidences at a rate of 3.9 per 100 workers.

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