HSE invites comments on sharps legislation
The HSE has opened a consultation period on proposed legislation to protect health-care workers from sharps injuries.
The new regulations are provisionally titled the Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 and are required under European Council Directive 2010/32/EU. EU ministers passed the directive in 2010 to help protect health-care workers from injuries and infections associated with coming into contact with sharp objects, such as needle-sticks.
The regulations will require employers in the health-care sector to introduce arrangements for the safe use and disposal of medical sharps. They will also be expected to provide information and training for employees, and record and investigate any sharps injuries.
The consultation is seeking views on whether the proposed regulations enable health-care businesses and workers to identify what they need to do to comply. It also offers an initial assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed changes. Views are also being sought on how the regulations should be supported by guidance, and who is best placed to provide this guidance.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Dr Pter Carter believes the legislation will play a vital role in protecting health-care workers. He said: “Nurses and health care assistants continue to be at risk in the workplace from sharps injuries which should be prevented.
“Nobody should go to work fearing that they could be exposed to serious infections such as hepatitis and HIV simply because steps haven’t been taken to avoid preventable accidents.”
In order to participate in the consultation, you can either download a form and return it to the HSE, or complete an online survey. The closing date for comments is 8 November 2012.
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