The objective of the directive is to achieve the safest possible working environment by preventing injuries to workers caused by all medical sharps.

Clock Running on EU Sharps Directive

By May 11, 2013, member states are required to have requirements in effect that implement Directive 2010/32/EU - prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector.

EU member states have less than two years remaining to ensure the measures are in place to implement Directive 2010/32/EU - prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector. EU-OSHA says an estimated 1 million needlesticks still occur annually in Europe, injuring nurses -- the workers considered to be at the highest risk -- but also cleaning personnel and laundry staffers.

The directive puts into effect a Framework Agreement that was signed by HOSPEEM (the European hospital and healthcare employers' association) and EPSU (the European Federation of Public Services Unions) in July 2009. Its goal is to achieve the safest possible working environment by preventing injuries to workers caused by all medical sharps and protecting workers who are at risk by:

  • eliminating the unnecessary use of sharps
  • providing medical devices
  • incorporating safety-engineered protection mechanisms
  • implementing safe systems of work
  • implementing safe procedures for using and disposing of medical sharps
  • banning recapping
  • using PPE
  • vaccination
  • information and training

It is up to the member states to decide what penalties to impose for non-compliance, according to EU-OSHA. May 11, 2013, is the deadline for requirements to come into force.

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