Health care workers (HCW) are at high risk of accidental contact with biological fluids. In spite of extensive recom mendations concerning HCW accidents continue to be frequent and seem to be related to specific factors. To evaluate the factors influencing risk of blood-borne infections in a particular category of HCW--obstetricians, and obtain information useful for prevention guidelines. Data were obtained from the exposure registers of nursing and of the Emergency Ward staff where HCWfirst report after accidental contact with biological fluids. Accidents with risk of blood-borne diseases were more frequent in obstetricians with lower job seniority. They usually occurred between 8 a.m. and 4p. m., in the patient's room. The hands and face (particularly the eyes) were the body parts more often involved In almost half of the accidents, the worker was not wearing any personal protective device. Although some contacts were with infected blood, no seroconversion occurred. Obstetricians are at high risk of contact with biological fluids. Prevention requires a global strategy including the availability of protective and safety devices, as well as worker education, especially concerning the use of such devices, the application of the universal rules of prevention and the improvement of risk awareness. An adequate post-exposure management of accidents in also required.
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