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Healthcare associated infection

Image: ©Pentland Medical

It is estimated that globally, 18% of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) are due to contaminated, communally used patient care equipment, and that cables, hoses and cords associated with such equipment are among the top ten trip hazards. These statistics could easily and simply be lowered.

Cable Jacketz™ (Pentland Medical UK) provide a simple, easy to use solution to the hazards posed by trailing cables, hoses and cords found in clinical areas such as operating theatres, intensive care units, and laboratories. These hazards include:

  • the danger of tripping
  • the potential for HCAI – these cables are difficult to clean both individually, and in and around the area where they lay.

Trip hazard
In England, both employers and employees have a legal obligation to prevent trips and falls in the workplace through The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 [1] and The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 [2]. Despite this, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) trips and falls account for around half of all reported major injuries to employees [3]. The HSE has produce guidance on preventing trips and slips at work [4] which includes clearing floors of obstructions and trip hazards such as trolleys, cables, or items not stored away [4].

In the Unites States, medical equipment hoses, cables and cords have been deemed one of the top ten trip hazards in the hospital environment by the Department Of Health And Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [5]. Cable covers are recommended as a preventative measure [5].

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (Ontario) suggests that the average claim cost for a trip/slip injury at work is $11,771. Even if an employee does not make a claim, one has to consider costs such as staff replacement, lost productivity and equipment damages; this represents approximately $59,000 per injury. It is not inconceivable that similar costs apply in the UK.

Infection hazard
Healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) can result in significant morbidity and mortality; they prolong hospital stays, and require diagnostic tests and interventions, thereby creating additional costs.

Collins [6] cites Gastmeier et al, whose study suggests that contaminated medical equipment or devices, and contaminated patient care equipment were the 2nd and 7th most common sources of infectious agents causing HCAI respectively. Munro [7] refers to the Scottish National HAI Prevalence Survey which extrapolates that globally, approximately 18% of infections are due to contaminated, communally used patient care equipment.

Such figures suggest that routine cleaning and/or decontamination do not occur. However, the revised NHS Cleaning Manual [8] make no specific reference to cleaning cables and cords, but suggests that both dedicated cleaning staff and clinical staff decide who is responsible for cleaning what. The Infection Prevention Society has no specific guidance on this either, so it appears that cleaning of cables etc falls between two stools – the absence of a clear policy leaves room for error.

The simple solution

Cable Jacketz™ brings cabling/wires and cords together making them more visible and compact. Cable Jacketz™ are made from an extremely durable vinyl coated polyester fabric which is resistant to microbes, flame, fluid, mould and is rot proof. A heavy duty zip design allows the user to add and remove cables from the Cable Jacketz™ quickly and easily.

Not to be confused with cheap domestic cable management products, they are designed and fit for purpose. Cable Jacketz™ can be custom made to virtually any diameter required in the clinical environment. Using them can save your hospital or laboratory money in four ways:

  • reduction in time staff have to spend untangling and cleaning medical hoses, cables and cords; this can reduce operating room turnover time between cases by 32-40%
  • protection of hoses, cables and cords, increasing their lifespan and thus reducing equipment costs
  • they eliminate tripping hazards
  • they reduce the potential for infection carried on cables


Supplied with a 1 year warranty, Cable Jacketz™ represent a simple, cost effective solution to an expensive problem.

If you would like to comment on any of the issues raised by this article, particularly from your own experience or insight, Healthcare-Arena would welcome your views.


  1. HSE. Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37/contents Accessed August 2015
  2. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/3004/regulation/12/made Accessed August 2015
  3. HSE Slips and trips in health and social care. 2012. http://www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices/slips/index.htm Accessed August 2015
  4. HSE. Health and Safety Executive Preventing slips and trips at work. A brief guide. 2012. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg225.pdf Accessed August 2015
  5. Department Of Health And Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Slip, trip and fall prevention for healthcare workers. 2010 http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-123/pdfs/2011-123.pdf Accessed August 2015
  6. Collins AS. Preventing Health Care–Associated Infections. In: Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. (Ed. Hughes RG). 2008. Rockville MD. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2683/#ch41.r20 Accessed August 2015
  7. Munro S. Trip hazards and hygiene. Journal of Perioperative Practice. Procurement Guide. 2014. 2; 6:15
  8. National Patient Safety Agency. The Revised Healthcare Cleaning Manual. 2009. http://www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/EasySiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=61814 Accessed August 2015


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