Key Issues from the consultation Guidance

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1 HSENI PROPOSALS FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY (SHARP INSTRUMENTS IN HEALTHCARE) REGULATIONS (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2013 ANALYSIS AND SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES INCLUDING HSENI RESPONSE 1. This is a summary report of the outcome of HSENI s formal, statutory consultation on proposals to introduce Regulations to implement EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU which aims to contribute to a safe working environment for healthcare workers by introducing measures to protect them from injuries caused by sharp medical instruments. 2. The consultation document was published on the HSENI website and ran from 3 December 2012 to 22 February Letters were issued to approximately 600 consultees inviting comments on the proposals, costs relevant to Northern Ireland and the conclusion that the proposals would have no adverse effect on section 75 groups. Responses, including no comments were received from the following organisations: Association of Personal Injury Lawyers Attorney General for Northern Ireland Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Commissioner for Older People Disability Action Institution of Occupational Safety and Health Labour Relations Agency Public Health Agency Royal College of Midwives Royal College of Nursing South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Key Issues from the consultation Guidance 3. Comments included the need for guidance to support the Regulations and that it should also contain advice on reporting arrangements in the event of an injury.

2 4. The Health and Safety Executive for Great Britain (HSEGB) has prepared stand alone guidance to support the equivalent Great Britain Regulations which applies equally to the Northern Ireland Regulations. This guidance will be available on the HSENI website along with other wider HSEGB on- line guidance on sharps injuries. Application of the Regulations 5. Four respondents commented on the application of the regulations. Two of these, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, were concerned that the Regulations should cover all workers who were potentially at risk and not only hospital and healthcare workers. The Royal College of Nursing commented that the Regulations should also apply to nursing students on placements within healthcare premises and to bank/agency workers. 6. The source Directive clearly applies only to the hospital and healthcare sector and it is Government policy not to over implement EU directives. Therefore it is proposed to retain the application of the regulations as proposed in the consultation. The HSEGB guidance to support the equivalent Great Britain Regulations contains clarification of those to whom the Regulations apply. This includes bank nurses and other agency workers contracted to work in healthcare, clinical placement, student assistantship, elective, internship or other workplace training. As indicated above the guidance applies equally to the Northern Ireland Regulations and will be made available on the HSENI web site.

3 Re-capping of needles 7. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, the Royal College of Nursing and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust commented on the issue of re-capping of needles. They were concerned that the Regulations, as drafted under implemented the terms of the Directive which appeared to provide for a complete ban on recapping. 8. Although the source directive required that the practice of recapping of needles shall be banned with immediate effect a statement by the social partners (HOSPEEM (the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers Association, a sectoral organisation representing employers) EPSU (European Federation of Public Service Unions, a European Trade Union Association)) provided clarification on this issue. In light of comments made on re-capping the relevant Regulation has been re-drafted to clarify that re-capping is only to be used where it is necessary to control a risk (which will include risk to patient safety); in addition to retaining the requirement for the risk to employees to be controlled by a suitable appliance, tool or equipment. Reporting of injuries 9. The Royal College of Nursing and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health were concerned that the requirements in relation to the reporting of injuries could impact on the underlying principles in the Directive to promote a no blame culture. The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health wished to see reference to RIDDOR in relation to sharps injuries.

4 10. Clause 9 (2) of the source Directive is clear in specifying that Workers shall immediately report any incident or accident involving sharps to the employer and the second bullet point in Clause 10 that The worker must provide the relevant information at the appropriate time to complete the details of the accident or incident. To remove the specific requirement for employees to report sharps injuries would result in under-implementation of the Directive. HSEGB Guidance on the Regulations will include advice on the recording and investigating of injuries. Investigations should be conducted with accident prevention in mind rather than to place blame. 11. HSEGB on-line guidance on sharps injuries, which is available on the HSENI website, includes a link to RIDDOR. HSENI will also clarify on its own website the position concerning RIDDOR. Awareness raising 12. The Public Health Agency identified organisations with whom HSENI could work to ensure that relevant HSC guidance is compliant with the regulations and also that could be of assistance in raising awareness of the requirements of the Regulations. 13. HSENI will liaise with the organisations identified or refer their names to HSEGB as appropriate. Selection of sharps consultation with worker representatives 14. The Royal College of Nursing was concerned at the lack of reference to the Directive s principle on consultation on the choice and use of safe equipment between end-users and employers.

5 15. Existing legislation on worker consultation requires all employers to consult with their employee representatives when introducing safer sharps (including the planning thereof). However, a requirement has been included in the Regulations that the employer must cooperate with worker representatives in that employer s undertaking in developing and promoting the information specified in Schedule 1 (which is included explicitly in Clause 7 of the Directive, and transposed into Regulation 6(2)). Equality Impact Screening 16. An equality impact screening of the proposed Regulations concluded that the proposed Regulations would have no adverse impact in terms of equality of opportunity. 17. These conclusions were set out in the consultative document and consultees were specifically asked for comments on the conclusions. No comments were made on this aspect of the proposals.

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