HSE consults over sharps injury guidance


Health and Safety Executive invites feedback prior to introduction of European Directive on needlestick injuries

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has opened a three-month consultation on proposals for new regulations to protect workers in the hospital and healthcare sector from injuries caused by sharp medical instruments.

Injuries from sharps - also known as needlestick injuries - are a well-recognised risk in the healthcare sector and can expose workers to serious blood-borne viruses such as Hepatitis and HIV.

Although many healthcare employers have already implemented good practice guidance to control the risk of sharps injuries, including the introduction of safety needles and cannulas, the new regulations are needed to implement a European Directive.

The proposed regulations will specifically require employers to:

  • Have effective arrangements in place for the safe use and disposal of medical sharps
  • Provide the necessary information and training to workers
  • Investigate and follow up a work-related sharps injury

It also requires employees in the healthcare sector to report a work-related sharps injury to their employer.

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Consultees have until 8 November to submit their views.