Legal loopholes put workers at risk of injury

February 4th, 2013

APIL PI Focus: February 2013

Injuries inflicted with needles and other sharp instruments in the healthcare sector could be avoided if regulatory loopholes were closed, says APIL in its response to a consultation on the proposed Regulations to implement Council Directive 2010/32/Eu

APIL has now called on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) not to water down but to implement in full a European Directive to prevent so-called “sharp injuries.”

“A medical worker who is pricked by a needle, for instance, can suffer life-changing consequences if he becomes infected with Hepatitis B or HIV,” said APIL president Karl Tonks, “so it is imperative that proper measures are taken which help ensure that everything possible is done to prevent such incidents occurring.”

In its response, APIL has said that the draft regulations are ambiguous and contain loopholes which may leave some workers unprotected.

“If, as proposed, the regulations only apply to an employer whose main activity is healthcare, then an organisation which provides healthcare services as well as services in other sectors, like aviation for instance, may be exempt from the regulations altogether,”

Karl added. “Surely this would undermine the entire point of having regulations. It is a huge disappointment that the draft regulations fall so short of the European Directive.

But this is the latest example of the Government’s attitude towards health and safety which is more about cutting what is perceived to be red tape than ensuring people’s safety.”

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