Dr. Nando Minnella from the Ministry of Health opened the 6th European Biosafety Summit held in Rome on Thursday 5th October 2017, in the Auditorium “Cosimo Piccinno” at the Ministry of Health.

The Summit welcomed Valeria D’Agostini from the European Commission, Lothar Lieck from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), Jose Luis Cobos from the Spanish General Council of Nurses and Emanuela Sale from the Italian Society of Hospital Pharmacy.

Moderated by RAI journalist Maria Concetta Mattei, the Summit also featured speakers from the Italian Ministry of Health, the Council of Italian Nurses and GFK Italy. The Summit featured discussions on Health and Safety at Work and the Sharps Directive in Italy and Europe.

The Summit was introduced by Cecilia Sironi from the Council of Italian Nurses, and Maria Giuseppina Lecce from the Ministry of Health.

In the first session, delegates heard from four speakers about Health and Safety at Work in Healthcare. Valeria D’Agostini from the European Commission spoke about the modernisation of EU OSH policy. She highlighted four areas where the directives needed improvement. Those areas were occupational cancer, helping businesses comply, future proofing the directives and improving compliance and enforcement.

Lothar Lieck, representing the EU-OSHA, informed delegates of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2018-2019. Lieck outlined the key aims of the campaign; raising awareness of the importance of proper handling of dangerous substances by providing facts and figures on exposure; promoting risk assessment; raising awareness of the risks of exposure to carcinogens; targeting groups of workers with specific needs and higher levels of risks and improving awareness of policy developments.

Jose Luis Cobos spoke about the Spanish Observatory on sharps injuries, which looked at the level of compliance and safety conditions in Spanish healthcare facilities. The results showed that the level of compliance was good, but some safety devices are more frequently provided. Cobos also informed delegates of the Spanish Consensus Document on patient and staff safety in hazardous drug administration.

Emanuela Omodeo Sale, representing the Italian Society of Hospital Pharmacy, spoke about the Italian consensus document on ensuring the safety of healthcare workers when handling antineoplastic drugs.

The Summit’s second session covered the Transposition of the Sharps Directive in Italy. Isabella Cecchini from GFK Italy opened the session by presenting the results of the Italian Safety Observatory conducted by GFK. She stated that the conclusion of the research was that while there had been improvements, the problem of sharps injuries persisted in Italy.

Isabella Cecchini’s presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion which featured Federico Gelli from the House of Deputies and Ranieri Guerra from the Ministry of Health. The other contributors to the roundtable were Gabriella De Carli, Franco Vallicella and Maurizio Hazan.

The final session covered the implementation of the Sharps Directive in Italy.  Anton Giulio Lana, from Lana Lagostene Bassi, a law firm, spoke about the legal aspects of the transposition. Matteo Tripodina, from the Italian Association for Health Care Prevention and Protection, gave a proposal for improving Health Care Worker Safety. Nicola Pinelli, from the Italian Federation of Local Health Care Units and Hospitals, spoke about the impact on Italy of dialogue in the European Commission.

Closing remarks were provided by Dr Nando Minnella, who thanked the speakers for the contributions and the delegates for their attendance and issued a call for action to protect healthcare workers from sharps injuries in Italy.