Directive 2000/54/EC is applicable;
7. Employers and workers’ representatives shall work together at the appropriate level to eliminate and prevent risks, protect workers’ health and safety, and create a safe working environment, including consultation on the choice and use of safe equipment, identifying how best to carry out training, information and awareness-raising processes;
8. Action needs to be taken through a process of information and consultation, in accordance with national laws and/or collective agreements;
9. The effectiveness of awareness-raising measures entails shared obligations of the employers, the workers and their representatives;
10. In achieving the safest possible workplace a combination of planning, awareness-raising, information, training, prevention and monitoring measures is essential;
11. Promote a ‘no blame’ culture. Incident reporting procedure should focus on systemic factors rather than individual mistakes. Systematic reporting must be considered as accepted procedure.
Clause 5: Risk assessment 1. Risk-assessment procedures shall be conducted in compliance with Articles 3 and 6 of Directive 2000/54/EC, and Articles 6 and 9 of Directive 89/391/EEC;
2. Risk assessment shall include an exposure determination, understanding the importance of a well resourced and organised working environment and shall cover all situations where there is injury, blood or other potentially infectious material;
3. Risk assessments shall take into account technology, organisation of work, working conditions, level of qualifications, work related psycho- social factors and the influence of factors related to the working environment. This will:
l identify how exposure could be eliminated, l consider possible alternative systems.
Clause 6: Elimination, prevention and protection 1. Where the results of the risk assessment reveal a risk of injuries with a sharp and/or infection, workers’ exposure must be eliminated by taking the following measures, without prejudice to their order:
l specifying and implementing safe procedures for using and disposing of sharp medical instruments and contaminated waste. These procedures shall be regularly reassessed and shall form an integral part of the measures for the information and training of workers referred in clause 8,
l eliminating the unnecessary use of sharps by implementing changes in practice and on the basis of the results of the risk assessment, providing medical devices incorporating safety-engineered protection mechanisms, l the practice of recapping shall be banned with immediate effect;
2. Having regard to the activity and the risk assessment, the risk of exposure must be reduced to as low a level as necessary in order to protect adequately the safety and health of the workers concerned. The following measures are to be applied in the light of the results of the risk assessment:
l place effective disposal procedures and clearly marked and technically safe containers for the handling of disposable sharps and injection equipment as close as possible to the assessed areas where sharps are being used or to be found,
l prevent the risk of infections by implementing safe systems of work, by:
(a) developing a coherent overall prevention policy, which covers technology, organisation of work, working conditions, work related psycho-social factors and the influence of factors related to the working environment;
(c) conducting health surveillance procedures, in compliance with Article 14 of Directive 2000/54/EC; — use of personal protective equipment;
3. If the assessment referred to in clause 5 reveals that there is a risk to the safety and health of workers due to their exposure to biological agents for which effective vaccines exist, workers shall be offered vaccination;
4. Vaccination and, if necessary, revaccination shall be carried out in accordance with national law and/or practice, including the determination of the type of vaccines:
l workers shall be informed of the benefits and drawbacks of both vaccination and non-vaccination,
l vaccination must be offered free of charge to all workers and students delivering healthcare and related activities at the workplace.
Clause 7: Information and awareness-raising As sharps are considered as work equipment within the meaning of Directive 89/655/EEC2
, in addition to information and written instructions to be
provided to workers specified in Article 6 of Directive 89/655/EEC, the employer shall take the following appropriate measures:
l to highlight the different risks, l to give guidance on existing legislation, l to promote good practices regarding the prevention and recording of incidents/accidents,
l to raise awareness by developing activities and promotional materials in partnership with representative trade unions and/or workers’ representatives,
l to provide information on support programmes available.
Clause 8: Training In addition to measures established by Article 9 of Directive 2000/54/EC, appropriate training shall be made available on policies and procedures associated with sharps injuries, including:
l the correct use of medical devices incorporating sharps protection mechanisms,
l induction for all new and temporary staff, l the risk associated with blood and body fluid exposures, l preventive measures including standard precautions, safe systems of work, the correct use and disposal procedures, the importance of immunisation, according to the procedures at the workplace,
l the reporting, response and monitoring procedures and their importance, l measures to be taken in case of injuries.
Employers must organise and provide training which is mandatory for workers. Employers must release workers who are required to attend training. This training shall be made available on a regular basis taking into account results of monitoring, modernisation and improvements.
Clause 9: Reporting 1. This includes the revision of the reporting procedures in place with health and safety representatives and/or appropriate employers/workers representatives. Reporting mechanisms should include local, national and European-wide systems;
2. Workers shall immediately report any accident or incident involving sharps to the employers and/or the person in charge, and/or to the person responsible for safety and health at work.
Clause 10: Response and follow-up Policies and procedures shall be in place where a sharp injury occurs. All workers must be made aware of these policies and procedures. These should be in accordance with European, national/regional legislation and collective agreements, as appropriate. In particular the following action shall be taken:
l the employer takes the immediate steps for the care of the injured worker, including the provision of post-exposure prophylaxis and the necessary medical tests where indicated for medical reasons, and appropriate health surveillance in accordance with clause 6(2)(c),
l the employer investigates the causes and circumstances and records the accident/incident, taking — where appropriate — the necessary action. The worker must provide the relevant information at the appropriate time to complete the details of the accident or incident,
l the employer shall, in cases of injury, consider the following steps including counselling of workers where appropriate and guaranteed medical treatment. Rehabilitation, continued employment and access to compensation shall be in accordance with national and/or sectoral agreements or legislation.
Confidentiality of injury, diagnosis and treatment is paramount and must be respected.
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