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Call for greater protection from ‘sharps’ injuries

Posted in: Medical Negligence Workplace Injuries 

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has issued a call for greater protection for people who work with sharp medical instruments.

Responding to a consultation by the Health and Safety Executive, IOSH warned the regulator against excluding non-medical workers from so-called ‘sharps’ regulations, now under review.

Injuries to workers from needles, scalpel blades and other sharp instruments – collectively known as medical sharps – have to be prevented, says IOSH. They can lead to exposure to blood-borne viruses and serious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, from instruments contaminated with patients’ blood or other bodily fluids.

Although there is no reliable injury data on this, it has been estimated that annually there may be as many as 100,000 sharps injuries in the UK. A survey of NHS staff found that 2% had suffered a needlestick injury in the previous year.


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