APIL responds to the draft Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013
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The impetus behind this Direction was to prevent workers from needlestick injuries in light of the risk of infection from serious blood borne infections such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV.
The UK regulations are provisionally entitled The Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013.
Various bodies in the UK have published guidance on implementation of the sharps directive:
The Safer Needles Network and the Partnership for Occupational Safety and Health in Healthcare (POSHH) have agreed advice for the NHS on preparing for implementation of the Directive. The advice is intended to help employers in ensuring that they are ready and compliant once UK legislation is passed. It provides guidance on the practical implementation of the Directive and should be read in conjunction with relevant national legislation and guidance.
The Royal College of Nursing has published guidance on the prevention of sharps injuries. The publication, Sharps Safety,covers the law on sharps injuries, including the European Directive and its underlying principles, as well as its requirements on health care providers.
However, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has responded to consultation on the regulations which, it states, in the current form are ambiguous and contain loopholes which could leave certain workers unprotected. APIL states:
"If, as proposed, the regulations only apply to an employer whose main activity is healthcare, then an organisation which provides healthcare services as well as services in other sectors, such as aviation for instance, may be exempt from the regulations altogether. Surely this would undermine the entire point of having regulations. It is a huge disappointment that the draft regulations fall so short of the European Directive but this is the latest example of the Governments' attitude towards health and safety which is more about cutting what is perceived to be red tape than ensuring people's safety "
I will keep you updated on the progress of regulations. In the meantime if you are a health care worker or otherwise and do have a needle stick injury please do contact us for advice in bringing a claim for compensation.
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