News Resources


Britain Union porters win protection from clinical waste
Cleaners at the sharp end of needlestick injuries
HSE discovers widespread NHS needlesticks risk
WHO calls for use of ‘smart’ syringes
Union welcome for new sharps injury law
Congo Union recruitment and retractable syringes
Needlestick loopholes claimed
UNION campaign forces progress on sharps Britain Refuse workers spiked by needles in black bag
Europe Agreement leads to safer needle rules

More news




UK: Sharp end Hazards magazine reports on the UK union capaign for an end to the deadly needle risk.

US: TDICT Training for Development of Innovative Control Technologies (TDICT) Project is a collaborative effort of line healthcare workers, product designers, and industrial hygienists dedicated to preventing exposure to blood through better design and evaluation of medical devices and equipment.

USA: NIOSH How to Protect Yourself From Needlestick Injuries.


Britain: Union porters win protection from clinical waste
A union has welcomed moves by health chiefs to introduce measures to protect porters at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness who are dealing with clinical waste – including extra staff. GMB Scotland had threatened strike action after reporting four of 14 workers had recently suffered needlestick injuries working with the specialist waste.
Press and Journal. BBC News Online. Daily Record. Risks 881
Hazards news, 19 January 2019

Britain: Cleaners at the sharp end of needlestick injuries
Almost two-thirds of workers who claim compensation successfully for needlestick injuries are cleaners – mainly because the needles weren’t correctly disposed of, the health service union UNISON has revealed. A UNISON analysis of nearly 100 successful compensation claims for needlestick injuries lodged by union members over a five year period showed that 62 per cent came from cleaning staff across all sectors, including health, social care, education and local government.
UNISON news release. More on needlestick safety. Risks 872.
Hazards news, 27 October 2018

Britain: HSE discovers widespread NHS needlesticks risk
Most healthcare establishments visited in a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection blitz were in breach of the law on needlesticks safety, with nearly half the subject of formal enforcement action. HSE found health and safety breaches in 90 per cent of organisations visited, with 83 per cent of organisations failing to fully comply with the sharps regulations
Summary report, Prevention and management of sharps injuries: Inspection of NHS organisations, HSE Sharps Inspection Initiative 2015/16 and sharps injuries webpages. UNISON news release. Safer Needles Network. Risks 752. Hazards news, 28 May 2016

Global: WHO calls for use of ‘smart’ syringes
Smart syringes that break after one use should be used for injections by 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. Reusing syringes lead to more than two million people being infected with diseases including HIV and hepatitis each year.
WHO news release. BBC News Online. Risks 692.
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: Nurse devastated by needlestick injury
A trainee nurse has been awarded over £75,000 compensation after a jab from a dirty needle at work cost her job and her marriage. Alcinda Tobbal could no longer bear physical intimacy after suffering the injury while working as a nursing assistant at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London, and became obsessed with cleanliness.
Daily MailRisks 665
Hazards news, 2 August 2014

Britain: Union welcome for new sharps injury law
New regulations to control the risks posed by needles and other 'sharps' in healthcare have been welcomed by the union UNISON. Commenting on the new law, which came into effect on 11 May, UNISON safety officer Robert Baughan, said: “This is a great day for the protection of healthcare workers from sharps injuries and the potential of contracting a deadly bloodborne virus such as HIV or Hepatitis C, and the culmination of UNISON's campaign for safer needles.”
HSE news release, needlesticks webpage and guidanceUNISON news releaseEuropean BioSafety Network guidanceRisks 605
Hazards news, 18 May 2013   

Britain: Needlestick injuries cause psychiatric trauma
Needlestick or ‘sharps’ injuries are resulting in persistent and substantial psychiatric illness or depression in workers in a wide range of industries, a new study has found. Research published this month in the journal Occupational Medicine found that those affected suffered psychiatric trauma that is similar in severity to trauma caused by other events such as road traffic accidents.
SOM news release. B. Green and EC Griffiths. Psychiatric consequences of needlestick injury, Occupational Medicine volume 63, pages 183–188, 2013 • Risks 600
Hazards magazine, 13 April 2013

Congo: Union recruitment and retractable syringes
A union project to encourage the use of safer retractable syringes in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s health system has delivered benefits for patients, health care workers and their union. Global union federation PSI said during the project, membership of the health care union SOLISCO, a PSI affiliate, rose by 30 per cent in three years.
PSI news releaseMap: IMPACT/PSI project collaboration between 2008 and 2013Risks 599
Hazards news, 30 March 2013

Britain: Needlestick loopholes claimed
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has claimed that a consultation on new regulations aimed at preventing needlestick injuries is flawed and injuries inflicted with needles and other sharp instruments in the healthcare sector could be avoided if regulatory loopholes were closed.
APIL news releaseRisks 585
Hazards news, 8 December 2012

Britain: UNION campaign forces progress on sharps
The UK safety authorities have been jolted into action by a high profile Europe-wide UNISON campaign for the introduction of a law to protect workers from sharps injuries. On 8 August the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) started a three month consultation on the implementation of an EU directive which requires member states to introduce regulations to protect health care workers from potentially life-threatening sharps-related infections.
CD244 - Consultation on proposed regulations to implement Council Directive 2010/32/EU on preventing sharps injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector • The consultation began on 8 August 2012 and ends on 8 November 2012 • Risks 569
Hazards news, 18 August 2012

Britain: Refuse workers spiked by needles in black bag
UNISON has repeated its call for an end to government stalling on needlestick hazards, after two refuse collectors from West Sussex were pricked by hypodermic needles. The two workers, who were employed by waste giant Biffa on a contract to collect household waste for Arun District Council, are facing the possibility of infection and two years of blood tests after being pricked by the needles, which had been left in black plastic waste bags by a resident.
UNISON news release and needlestick injuries guide for local government safety reps. BBC News OnlineRisks 567
Hazards news, 4 August 2012

Europe: Agreement leads to safer needle rules
Health unions have welcomed a new Europe-wide law to help protect health care workers from the agony of needlestick injuries and infections. The directive gives legal teeth to a framework agreement reached by European trade union and employers’ organisations in June last year, which included guidance for training, support and prevention of needlestick injuries.
EPSU news releasePSI news releaseUNISON news releaseRisks 447
Hazards news. 13 March 2010

Britain: Train worker gets needle injury payout
An RMT member who was injured by a dirty needle has received £8,500 in compensation. The 34-year-old from Sunbury on Thames, whose name has not been released, was stuck by a needle in his knee while attempting to fix lights on a train carriage at Paddington Station.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 438
Hazards news, 9 January 2009

Europe: Union victory on safer needles
A long running trade union campaign to introduce safer needles and prevent sharps injuries to health workers reached a successful conclusion this week, with the agreement of strict European Union-wide guidelines. The framework agreement signed this week between the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and HOSPEEM - the European hospital and healthcare employers' association - aims to prevent the incidence of injuries with contaminated sharps, protect the workers at risk and establish appropriate response and follow up policies in cases where injuries occur.
UNISON news releaseEPSU news releaseNursing TimesRisks 410
Hazards news, 13 June 2009

Britain: UNISON calls for safer needles
Hospitals should be required to use safer needles to protect their staff, health service union UNISON has said. The call follows the case of a care assistant compensated after she was stuck in the leg by a needle at Kettering General Hospital.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseSafer Needles NowRisks 385
Hazards news, 6 December 2008

Britain: Tragedy leads to safer needles call
Health service union UNISON is calling on NHS Employers to banish needlestick injuries (NSIs) for good, by making safer needles compulsory across the health service. The call comes in the wake of the tragic death of gifted nurse, Juliet Young, who contracted HIV from a needlestick injury while working at the Maudsley Mental Health Hospital in London.
UNISON news releaseRisks 344
Hazards news, 23 February 2008

Canada: Safety needles to become mandatory
It’s been a few years since the Service Employees International Union began a national safer needles campaign in Canada to help ensure the safety of its members, but the efforts of the union are paying off. After years of pressuring Ontario’s provincial government to implement a policy requiring the use of safety needles in all of its hospitals, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has said safety needles will be mandatory in Ontario hospitals by 1 September 2008.

SEIU news release and Safer Needles Now campaign webpages
Hazards needlesticks webpages
Hazards news, 1 September 2007

Britain: Union pushes safer needles audit
Health service union UNISON is encouraging its safety reps to take part in an online audit of needle safety practices. The union, which is part of the Safer Needles Network, is working with NHS Employers to carry out the audit of compliance with ‘Blue book’ recommendations to minimise the risks of staff exposures to blood and body fluids.
Risks 248, 18 March 2006

Canada: Healthcare unions push for safety needles law
Healthcare workers in Ontario, Canada, have launched a province-wide print, radio and outdoor advertising campaign to push the Ontario government to make safety-engineered medical sharps mandatory. Research cited by the unions shows in facilities where safety needles are in use, up to 90 per cent of sharps injuries are prevented.

Risks 233, 19 November 2005

Canada: Safe needles laws spread further
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Canada is applauding a commitment from the provincial government in Manitoba to convert from conventional to safety-engineered medical sharps devices.
Risks 185, 4 December 2004

Canada: Province takes a lead on safer needles
The first Canadian legislation mandating the use of safety-engineered needles and medical sharps has been announced in Saskatchewan. In a move welcomed by the health union SEIU, Debra Higgins, the province's labour minister, said her government will implement regulations to protect workers from diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C through the mandatory use of engineering controls on medical sharps.
Risks 182, 13 November 2004

UNISON calls for end to dirty needle terror
"Subjecting thousands of NHS workers to the terror of dirty needles is unnecessary and inhumane," health union UNISON has said. The claim came on 23 February, the day that health unions launched a major campaign demanding "Safer Needles Now."

Risks 145, 28 February 2004

GMB campaign at the sharp end
Local authority union GMB is campaigning for better protection for workers from injuries caused by discarded needles. It's "At the sharp end" guide is calling for a legal requirement for all accidents and injuries to be reported to the health and safety authorities; employers to implement safe working practices; free vaccination for hepatitis B and tetanus for all at risk workers; and prompt support following an injury including 24 hour support and counselling.
Risks 99, 29 March 2003

UNISON gets the (safer) needle
Workplace health campaigners have said preventing potentially life threatening needlestick injuries is 'a no-brainer', and have slammed the government for failing to act.
Risks 79, 9 November 2002

Employers get the needle in compensation case
UNISON is calling for new, safer needles to be introduced throughout the NHS after a compensation award of 58,000. About 100,000 accidents involve needles and sharps in the UK each year and the number is growing.
Risks 77, 26 October 2002
UNISON news release

UNISON wins caretaker syringe trauma appeal
A caretaker left traumatised after pricking his finger on a discarded hypodermic needle has won the right to substantial damages at the Court of Appeal.
Risks 51, 27 April 2002