First EU wide text agreed by Hospital and Healthcare trade unions and employers set to prevent medical sharps injuries

Press conference for signing of medical sharps agreement today
(Brussels, 17 July 2009,) The European Hospital and Healthcare Sector Social Partners - The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) represented by the President of EPSU health Committee, Karen Jennings and the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) represented by General Secretary, Godfrey Perera today signed a European agreement, which is set to prevent medical sharps injuries for the whole health workforce in Europe.



Welcoming the agreement, Karen Jennings stated that; “this represents tremendous progress for the European Hospital social dialogue process, but most importantly it makes a clear and positive contribution to the working lives of Europe’s healthcare workers”.

Godfrey Perera said that; “this deal is in the interest of the Hospital and Healthcare Sector Employers, who have a moral obligation to protect their workers’ health and safety. It also benefits both employers and employees because a proper risk assessment carried out reduces risks and improves employees health and safety, thereby decreasing the number of days lost of these highly trained staff, thus reducing costs”.

The agreement allows for European-wide measures to tackle the issue of injuries from sharps (such as needlesticks) in hospitals.

The European Social Partners will ask the Commission to present this agreement to the Council of Ministers to implement it through an EU directive.

The Social Partners (HOSPEEM and EPSU) signed the agreement in the presence of the Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Vladimir Spidla. Mr. Spidla expressed his support for the negotiations and stated that he was pleased that the European Social Dialogue process was being used to address such an important health and safety issue.

EPSU President, Anne-Marie Perret stated that; "Through this agreement, the European social partners in the hospital sector have demonstrated that it was possible to influence the EU policies and, according to their respective roles, to take the interests of workers and employers, jointly focusing on the interests of patients into account". Full text of speech below.

For further information, please contact:
HOSPEEM: Gin Ngan +32 2 229 21 57,
EPSU: Brian Synnott +32 2 250 10 80,

{EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC. 8 million public service workers and their 213 trade unions are members. They organise workers in health and social services, local and national administration, energy, water, waste. In the health and social services sector EPSU organises 3.5 million members
{HOSPEEM is the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers Association. It regroups at European level national employers' associations operating in the hospital and health care sector and delivering services of general interest, in order to co-ordinate their views and actions with regard to a sector and a market in constant evolution. HOSPEEM is an individual member of CEEP


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