Regulations to prevent sharps injuries in healthcare

The Health and Safety Executive have embarked on a consultation process on plans to introduce what would be called the Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013. These are to enable the UK to meet a European Council Directive on preventing injuries in the healthcare sector caused by the use and disposal of medical sharps.

The Directive covers the provision of information and training to staff, and duties to record, investigate and take action after a sharps injury. Workers in the sector will be obliged to report any sharps injury to their employer.

Note that the regulations will only affect employers, contractors and workers in the healthcare sector, for example NHS Trusts, independent healthcare businesses and employers whose main activity relates to healthcare. They will not cover risks arising from first-aid activities, cleaning work etc in other sectors. The consultation document can be downloaded at http://www.hse.gov. uk/consult/condocs/cd244.htm

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