New legislation to reduce injuries for 3.5 million healthcare workers in Europe

EU Employment and Social Affairs Ministers have adopted a Directive to prevent
injuries and infections to healthcare workers from sharp objects such as needle
sticks - one of the most serious health and safety threats in European
workplaces and estimated to cause 1 million injuries each year. The Directive
translates into Community law an agreement negotiated by the European social
partner organisations in the sector, which employs around 3.5 million people.

The new Directive implements in law a framework agreement on prevention from
sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector signed in July 2009 by the
European Public Services Union (EPSU) and the European Hospital and Healthcare
Employers' Association (HOSPEEM) - European Social partner organisations.

It aims to:

  • achieve the safest possible working environment for employees in the sector and protect workers at risk, as well as patients;

  • prevent injuries to workers caused by all types of sharp medical objects (including needle sticks);

  • set up an integrated approach to assessing and preventing risks as well as to training and informing workers.

The legislation specifically addresses one of the priority objectives of the
EU's current strategy for health and safety at work, which aims to cut
workplace accidents by 25% by 2012.

More information - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work