EU Sharps Directive

Sharps injuries occur following an accidental cut or puncture wound to the skin, most often from a needle or other medical sharp such as a scalpel. If the sharp is contaminated with blood there is a risk of transmitting infectious agents including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

In 2010 the European Union adopted a directive to prevent injuries and infections to healthcare workers from sharp objects, including needlestick injuries: EU Directive 2010/32/EU on the prevention of sharps injuries in the health sector.

100,000 needlestick injuries are estimated to happen in the UK 4,5

1 in 5 accidents that happen to NHS staff are needlestick and sharp injuries related

£500k is spent each year on NHS trust, to treat needle injuries2

What does the EU Sharps Directive aim to do?

The Directive aims to achieve the safest possible working environment for healthcare workers through the prevention of sharps injuries. If a risk assessment reveals a risk of injury, the workers’ exposure must be eliminated by implementing safer procedures, eliminating the unnecessary use of sharps and in the many cases where they remain necessary, providing safety –engineered medical devices that incorporate protection from the needle/sharp.   


Independent studies show that a combination of training, safer working practices and the use of medical devices incorporating sharps protection mechanisms (safety engineered devices) can prevent the majority of needlestick and sharps injuries6.


Mölnlycke procedure trays

In light of the EU Sharps Directive, Mölnlycke is able to offer customers a selection of safety devices that have engineered features built into the product design to prevent needlestick injuries. These components can be incorporated into current tray specification(s) and into new trays.


Is your Mölnlycke procedure tray optimised for the EU Sharps Directive? Download more information here


1.Unison Calls for end to needlestick agony; 14th February 2008. avaliable at:http//www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_views.asp?id=1098

2. Stoker.R. Needlestick Safety - Not just a U.S problem. Avaliable at: http://www.isips.org/reports/Articles/mic0407w14.pdf

3. The National Audit Office (2003) A safer place to work - improving the management of health and safety risks in NHS trusts

4. Royal college of Nursing (2008) Needlestick injury in 2008, Results from a survey of RCN members



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