Underreporting of percutaneous exposure accidents in a teaching hospital in Spain

Clin Perform Qual Health Care. 1999 Apr-Jun;7(2):88-91.


The study's objectives were to determine the frequency of biological-risk accidents involving percutaneous exposure and to identify factors associated with underreporting. Two hundred fifty healthcare professionals from inpatient services at high risk for exposure at the Puerta del Mar University Hospital of Cádiz, Spain, participated in the study. A questionnaire was used to measure personal and work variables, the number of accidents suffered and reported in the last year, and the circumstances motivating the reporting or nonreporting. Two hundred thirty-two persons (92.8%) completed the questionnaire. The accident rate was 12 per 100,000 hours worked. Physicians were the most frequent accident victims (rate 22/100,000 hours). The general surgery and emergency services had higher rates than other services (rates 19.82 and 14.17, respectively). Sixty-six percent of the accidents were not reported to the register. The main predictors of the underreporting were length of professional service greater than 19 years, working in the surgery service, and the perception that the accidents did not involve health risk. The true accident rate was higher than that reflected in the Accident Register. Underreporting was high. The main variables associated with underreporting were length of professional service, work area or department, and perception of risk from the accident.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Needlestick Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Risk Management / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires