Framework Agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector

(17 July 2009)

Preamble:

1. Health and safety at work is an issue, which should be important to everyone in the hospital and healthcare sector. Taking action to prevent and protect against unnecessary injuries if properly carried out, will have a positive effect on resources;

2. Health and safety of workers is paramount and is closely linked to the health of patients. This underpins the quality of care;

3. The process of policy making and implementation in relation to medical sharps should be the result of social dialogue;

4. HOSPEEM (European Hospital and Healthcare Employers' Association) and EPSU (European Public Services Union), the recognized European Social partners in the hospital and healthcare sector, have agreed the following :

General Considerations:

1. Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community and in particular Articles 138 and 139 (2) thereof;

2. Having regard to Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work ;

3. Having regard to Council Directive 89/655/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work ;

4. Having regard to Directive 2000/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents at work ;

5. Having regard to the Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work ;

6. Having regard to the Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community ;

7. Having regard to the resolution of the European Parliament of 6 July 2006 on protecting European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries (2006/2015(INI));

8. Having regard to the first and second stage consultation of the European Commission on protecting European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries;

9. Having regard to the outcomes of the EPSU-HOSPEEM technical seminar on needlestick injuries of 7 February 2008;

10. Having regard to the hierarchy of general principles of prevention laid down in Article 6 of Council Directive 89/391/EEC as well as to the preventative measures defined in articles 3, 5 and 6 of Directive 2000/54/EC;

11. Having regard to the joint ILO/WHO guidelines on health services and HIV/AIDS and to the joint ILO/WHO guidelines on post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection;

12. With full respect to existing national legislation and collective agreements;

13. Whereas action needs to be taken to assess the extent of the incidence of sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector, scientific evidence shows that preventive and protection measures can significantly reduce the occurrence of accidents and infections;

14. Whereas a full risk assessment process is a precondition to take appropriate action to prevent injuries and infections;

15. Whereas the employers, and workers' health and safety representatives need to cooperate to prevent and protect workers against injuries and infections from medical sharps;

16. Whereas healthcare workers are primarily but not exclusively concerned by sharp injuries;

17. Whereas students undertaking clinical training, as part of their education, are not considered as workers under this agreement, they should be covered by the prevention and protection measures outlined in this agreement, with liabilities being regulated according to national legislation and practice;

For the full text of the Agreement:

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