" ... one of the most serious health and safety threats in European workplaces... "
Needlestick injuries are a common occupational hazard for healthcare workers:
Independent studies have shown that training, safer working practices and the use of safety-engineered medical devices can prevent more than 80% of needlestick injuries.1
The EU adopted a new Directive in 2010, designed to achieve the safest possible working environment by preventing injuries to workers caused by all medical sharps.
Healthcare organisations should protect workers
The Directive becomes legally binding on 11 May 2013 and obliges healthcare organisations to adopt safety measures that protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries.
Delaying implementation of safety measures means healthcare workers remain at risk.
The Directive applies to all hospital and healthcare workers, whether they are full-time staff, part-time staff or subcontractors.
Having recognised the ethical and economic reasons for improving healthcare worker safety, many healthcare organisations across Europe have put into practice improved safety measures in advance of the impending legislation.
The Directive was drafted by the European Commission and adopted by the European Council of Ministers. It incorporates the EU Framework Agreement on Sharps Injuries negotiated by the European Federation of Public Services Union (EPSU) and the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM).
No other company is better placed to help you prepare for the EU Directive. Find out why.
“In achieving the safest possible workplace, a combination of planning, awareness-raising, information, training, prevention and monitoring is essential.”
In all situations where there is a danger of infection, assessments should be conducted. Any risk assessment must take into account the organisation of the workplace and its resources.
In a hospital environment it is not possible to segregate patients based on risk, as many will be treated before it is known they are carrying serious blood-borne pathogens. Therefore, universal sharps injury prevention measures are appropriate.
Risk assessments should be conducted in compliance with articles 3 and 6 of Directive 2000/54/EC and Articles 6 and 9 of Directive 89/391/EEC.
Directive 2000/54/EC asserts that where prevention of exposure is not possible, the risk must be minimised through:
Where it cannot be eliminated risk should be minimised. Studies have shown that healthcare worker risk can be significantly reduced through the combination of:
The Directive requires that:
If you would like to receive further information or request help, guidance or advice on how to introduce safety-engineered devices in your facility, please contact us via the Contact page of the website.
In Germany, the use of safety-engineered sharps is mandated by the Technical Rule 250 ITRBA 250) except in cases where it can be guaranteed that the patient being treated does not carry a blood-borne pathogen.
Spain provides its own picture of safety device regulation and adoption. Legislative and regulatory powers reside in each of the individual autonomous regions of Spain, and legislation mandating the use of safety devices now exists in five of the autonomous regions (Baleares, Madrid, Castilla la Mancha, Galicia, Navarra).
1Sharps Injuries – Stepping Up to the Challenge in Europe. Available at: http://www.efnweb.eu/version1/en/documents/HHESharpsarticlePaulDeRaeveEFN.pdf (accessed September 2011).