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A survey of occupational risk exposures and behaviour of healthcare workers


Ani K. Kevorkyan1 / Nedyalka S. Petrova2 / Nevena G. Angelova3
1Department of Hygiene, Ecology and Epidemiology
2Department of Social Medicine and Public Health, Medical University, Plovdiv
3Division of Prevention and Control of Nosocomial infections, St George University Hospital, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Correspondence and reprint request to: A. Kevorkyan, Department of Hygiene, Ecology and Epidemiology,Medical University, Plovdiv; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Mob.: (+359) 888 100 27215A Vassil Aprilov St, 4002 Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Citation Information: Folia Medica. Volume 54, Issue 1, Pages 44–50, ISSN (Online) 1314-2143, ISSN (Print) 0204-8043, DOI: 10.2478/v10153-011-0077-7, October 2012
Publication History:
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To reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms standard precautions are taken for all patients expected to be exposed to blood, body fl uids, or have contacts with mucous membranes and non-intact skin. These preventive measures are by far the best way to protect healthcare workers from adverse infections.

AIM: To analyze occupational risk exposure of healthcare workers occurring when the latter come into contact with blood or other potentially infectious liquid in order to assess some aspects of the application of standard preventive measures.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 680 healthcare workers (186 physicians, 330 nurses, and 164 hospital orderlies) were included in an anonymous survey conducted at St George University Hospital, Plovdiv in 2009. The questionnaire consisted of 14 questions grouped in 3 clusters. Occupational risk exposure was defi ned as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We used descriptive statistics, parametric and non-parametric analysis.

RESULTS: Occupational exposure was reported by 81% of the respondents for the last year with predominance of percutaneous injuries (62%). Nurses sustained the most risk exposures (86%). We found a correlation between the job category and the occupational exposure (χ2 = 14.3, df = 2, р < 0.001). No correlation was found between length of service and injury intensity (χ2 = 1.69, df = 2, р > 0.05). Immunisation against hepatitis virus B infection received 64.3 ± 3.8% of the healthcare personnel. Immunization covered 48.2% of the ancillary workers, which is less than the mean coverage for the respondents. Job position was found to correlate with the immunisation coverage (χ2 = 24.41, df = 2, р < 0.001). Ninety-two percent of the healthcare workers used personal protective equipment (disposable gloves), but only 74.6% of them did this during emergencies (р < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Post-exposure follow-ups and the overall behaviour pattern after occupational risk exposure are random and non-systematic in nature. A better prevention of healthcare personnel would require a long-term training with constant knowledge upgrading, invasive procedures perfection and permanent control.