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Safety event advises on reducing sharps injuries

Posted in: Medical Negligence Workplace Injuries 

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Healthcare Group has held an event in Northern Ireland giving advice to healthcare organisations on how new laws can help them reduce needle, scalpel blade and other sharps injuries in the healthcare industry.

The Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013, which implement the EU Directive 2010/2013, are due to come into force this spring.

The regulations are designed to prevent sharps injuries in the hospital and health and social care sector, and introduce new and updated measures to protect staff. These include a requirement to provide safer needle systems, warding against injury to those using needle devices, as well as anyone involved in laundry, decontamination and waste management.

IOSH Healthcare Group chair Douglas Blair said:

“The number of sharps injuries we see in our health and social care facilities are way too high and that’s a problem, as with the right protective measures in place, they are actually preventable.

“We simply can’t afford to be putting our doctors, nurses and other staff in the sector at risk of disease and illness. They need to be safe in the work they do to be able to provide the service needed to help others recover and at the same time, this will also mean patients and clients are safer too.”

Mr Blair added: “We welcome this regulation as an important step in reducing that statistic. There is so much innovation in healthcare equipment and techniques that our organisations can harness to improve health and safety in their workplaces. These take away a large portion of the direct contact with sharps instruments – the very thing putting people most at risk.”


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