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Europe - Policy and Legislation

to protect healthcare workers from occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens 

EU policy summary:

• May 2010:  Council adopts rules to prevent injuries to healthcare workers (5/11/10)

• April 19, 2010: Council Directive implementing the Framework Agreement on prevention of sharps injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector concluded by HOSPEEM and EPSU (Brussels: Council of the European Union, Legislative Acts and Other Instruments 7318/10.)

  • March 2010: The European Council officially adopted a directive on the prevention of sharp injuries in healthcare settings which will make use of safety devices a legal requirement in EU countries. Press:

• January 2010: The Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament took another step forward on the Framework Agreement on sharps safety, voting to adopt a motion supporting the agreement. It now goes to a plenary vote on February 1. More.

• July 2009: Framework Agreement on sharps safety, signed by HOSPEEM and EPSU

• July 2009 : Two European Union "social partner" organizations -- the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers' Association (HOSPEEM) -- signed an agreement in Brussels on July 17, 2009, aimed at increasing protection for European healthcare workers from medical sharps injuries. The Social Partners will ask the EU Commission to present this agreement to the Council of Ministers, in order to implement it through an EU directive. Read more here.

• March 2009 : Meeting of European Commission technical committee charged with reviewing the 2000/54/ED directive on sharps safety and making recommendations on next steps.  

2006: The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2006 on "Protecting European healthcare workers from blood borne infections due to needle stick injuries." The U.K. Health and Safety Executive website provides further background:

On 24 February 2005, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on promoting health and safety in the workplace.  Amongst other points, this resolution called on the European Commission to ensure that Member States implemented specific preventive measures necessary to protect healthcare workers from injuries caused by needles and other medical sharps in view of the risk of infection from serious blood-borne infections, such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV. [...] In the wake of this resolution, 6 July 2006 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on protecting European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries. The resolution requested the Commission to submit to the EP a legislative proposal for a directive amending Directive 2000/54/EC on biological agents at work.

A period of consultation with relevant bodies from member EU states regarding the desirability of legislation mandating use of safety-engineered sharps followed the adoption of the resolution; the second-stage consultation period ended in February 2008.

If you are aware of pertinent policies or guidelines related to healthcare worker safety or occupational exposure prevention in countries in this region that are not included below, please send information here .

- Policy and legislation, by region/country: 


Note to Visitors

As of January 2013, this website is no longer being
actively updated. It will continue to be accessible 
as a UVA site for its research and historical value.

The information and documents available on the site continue to be relevant for researchers in the area of sharps safety and protection of healthcare workers from bloodborne pathogen exposures.

EPINet Data for 2010 and 2011

Available here. 

Consensus Statement and Call to Action on Sharps Safety Released March 2012