The European Biosafety Network has called for immediate action to prevent potentially life-threatening needlestick injuries among healthcare workers.

Speaking at the 2nd European Biosafety Summit, held in Dublin on June 1st, Cliff Williams, Chair of the European Biosafety Network, said immediate action was needed to protect workers and patients:

“On a daily basis, patients and workers are at risk from potentially fatal blood-borne viruses through sharps injuries. We must unite to ensure that the sharps directive is implemented without delay.”

The summit was jointly hosted by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the European Biosafety Network. INMO President Sheila Dickson said the Irish Government and governments across Europe must implement the EU Sharps Directive as soon as possible to protect workers from the potentially fatal risk of ‘sharps’ injuries among healthcare workers:

“It is no longer acceptable that healthcare, and non-healthcare staff and patients are at risk of potentially life threatening sharps injuries which are easily preventable. We need to create awareness among workers of these risks and we are calling on the Irish Government, and Governments across Europe, to implement the EU Sharps Directive which sets up an integrated approach to assessing and preventing risks and to training and informing workers.”

The Summit noted that the majority of these injuries were preventable with the provision of effective training, safer working procedures and safety-engineered medical devices that shield or retract the needle after use.