New EU regulations to protect healthcare workers from sharps injuries


08 / 5 / 2013 11.41am


The new EU law comes into force across the UK on 11 May 2013. It applies to employers, employees and contractors in the NHS, voluntary, private and independent sector. It also applies to healthcare students and community and hospital pharmacies.

These regulations will add new requirements to the already comprehensive health and safety legislation which applies to NHS organisations.

The NHS Confederation’s European Office and the NHS Employers organisation have produced a helpful guide detailing the new regulations and the implications they will have for healthcare organisations, for both employers and staff.

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said:

NHS organisations take very seriously their responsibility to protect staff from harm and are determined to make sure that staff are properly protected.

The NHS will implement these regulations to help improve safety for our healthcare workers in the workplace and continue to highlight the importance of safe practice regarding sharps and needles."

Elisabetta Zanon, director of the NHS European Office, said:

The NHS European Office and the NHS Employers organisation have worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive and with employers’ organisations and trade unions in Europe, to try to ensure that the new EU rules are sensible and workable for the NHS.

The new EU regulations will help employers and staff to take the right action when an injury occurs to help minimise harm and learn the lessons of how to help prevent injury in the future."

Both NHS employers and staff need to be aware of and take action on new European legislation concerning the prevention of injuries from sharp medical devices.

Sharps injuries caused by medical instruments such as needles can, in the most serious cases, result in infections such as HIV or Hepatitis B or C being passed on to staff.

Such injuries can cause significant stress and psychological trauma to staff - even where no infection is acquired – as well as changes in lifestyle, working restrictions and treatments depending on test results.

View a copy of the briefing.

Note: The NHS Confederation's European Office monitors EU developments and influences them in the interest of the NHS.  


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