Prevalence of Sharps Injuries at a Tertiary Teaching Oral Health Centre, Gauteng, South Africa




Needle-stick, sharps injuries, dentistry, training institution


Needle-stick and sharps injuries are an occupational hazard in dental training institutions. The study aimed to quantify and describe the nature of Needle-stick and sharp injuries (NSI) at a Tertiary Teaching Oral Health Centre (TTOHC) in South Africa. An analytic, cross-sectional study was conducted among students engaged in clinical service and oral health staff supervising them at the Oral Health Centre, Gauteng, South Africa. An adapted 18-item self-administered questionnaire was provided to all students and staff. Standard ethical guidelines were followed according to institutional ethics committee approval (M171131). A response rate of 88% (n=73) was obtained from students, with the majority of participants being female(67%), dentistry students (88 %), aged between 18-25 years, in their fourth year of study (45%) while only 3.7% were final year oral hygiene students. The staff participants were dentists (80.6%)
while most staff participants (88.3%) were employed for 3 years or less. The NSI prevalence at the TTOHC was 41.3% (n=45). The number of staff reporting the injury for both staff and students was recorded to be 80% (n = 36 of 45 injuries), with 77.3% of injured individuals receiving post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) against possible HIV-infection, however, more than a third (39%) reported not to have completed the PEP. The department in which the most NSIs occurred was Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery. Sharp injuries were mostly due to needle sticks. Most NSIs occurred among senior students with more clinical experiences and particularly during the
early and late periods in a year. The prevalence of needle and sharp injuries was high and of concern. The sharps injury reporting rate was good, however, less than half of injured individuals completed the PEP treatment. The findings highlighted which students were
most at risk to encounter NSI, including the period during their training when it was most likely to occur, thus enabling directed re-emphasis and training in Infection Control and Prevention.


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How to Cite

Lecoge, N. ., Ismail, H. ., Mhlaba-van Rooyen, T., Naidoo, T. ., Mthandazo, J. B., Sibanyoni, O. K. ., & Malele-Kolisa, Y. . (2022). Prevalence of Sharps Injuries at a Tertiary Teaching Oral Health Centre, Gauteng, South Africa. South African Dental Journal, 77(03), 135–141.