EPSU and HOSPEEM contribution on the prevention of sharps injuries at 2nd European Biosafety Summit

(Brussels, 6 July 2011) EPSU and HOSPEEM contributed to the 2nd European Biosafety Summit in Dublin on Wednesday 1 June 2011, co-hosted by the European Biosafety Network (EBN) and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (IMCO).

The conference highlighted the impact of sharps injuries and reported on progress within the Member States and across Europe towards implementation of Directive 2010/32/EU on the prevention of sharps injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector currently transposed into national legislation.

It is estimated that approximately 1.2 million occupational injuries with medical sharps (this comprises needle-stick injuries but also injuries through broken glass, scalpels, scissors and other medical sharps) occur in the EU every year. They can result in the transmission of more than thirty dangerous infections, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV and insofar endanger the health of health professionals and patients.

The EU Directive was adopted on 11 May 2010 implements the Framework Agreement concluded by HOSPEEM and EPSU on 17 July 2009 (for more info: Framework Agreement on Prevention from Sharp Injuries in the Hospital and Health Care Sector and HOSPEEM – EPSU joint clarification of the Framework agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector) and makes it legally binding across the European Union. Each EU Member State is required to bring into force national legislation to implement the Directive by 11 May 2013 at the latest. It was announced that the third edition of the European Biosafety Summit is to be held on 1 June 2012 in London, co-hosted by UNISON.

In their presentations HOSPEEM and EPSU retraced the process of negotiating and agreeing on the Framework Agreement. They recalled its rationale and its key features, all incorporated in the Directive 2010/32/EU. These comprise
1) Risk assessment (technology, work organisation, working conditions, level of qualifications, work-related psycho-social factors; working environment;
2) Elimination, prevention, protection (safe procedures; medical devices with safety-engineered protection mechanisms; ban of recapping; safe disposal);
3) Information, awareness-raising;
4) Training;
5) Reporting.

EPSU explained what the social partners in the hospital sector have done since the adoption of the Framework Agreement and Directive 2010/32/EU to promote their dissemination, implementation and use by all health workers concerned, building on awareness raising activities. EPSU sketched out which activities HOSPEEM and EPSU plan to undertake in the near future along these lines, comprising an intensified cooperation with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA) and work towards elaborating practical guidance and toolkits by first and foremost using and adapting existing material.

You can have a look at the presentations by:


More information on the EBN.
There you’ll also find a practical toolkit for implementation published in May 2011.