The European Biosafety Network, in conjunction with EU OSHA, published an online questionnaire in January 2016 addressing key aspects of awareness, training and implementation of safer sharps policy.

Occupational health leaders and EU OSHA focal points distributed this questionnaire in their respective countries for those in the healthcare sector who are active in sharps prevention in all the European member states.

The survey went online in early January and will remain online for a year. The survey is available in 12 languages.

Interim results have been compiled and analysed following receipt of 756 submissions from 21 member states. Responses to questions have been analysed both by sector, as an aggregate and by country.

The interim results found that hospitals and clinics report high levels of awareness and compliance with the Sharps Directive but non-traditional settings, including nursing homes, long-term care homes and dental surgeries, would seem to be a cause for concern. The uptake of safer sharps in these non-traditional settings remains proportionally poor with dental surgeries having the lowest conversion to safer sharps. Reported awareness and compliance for laboratory services and associated support and cleaning services is relatively high, but this may be due to respondents who oversee these services being disproportionately from large tertiary hospitals.

It also found that levels of awareness of the Sharps Directive are relatively high but there is a still a problem with c 20% of respondents saying that risk assessments and training are not being carried out, the Sharps Directive does not apply to contract staff and sharps injuries are still not being reported. In addition, more than a third of injection devices and other sharps are still standard sharps.