16.12.2010   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

CE 341/67


Thursday 11 February 2010
Proposal for a Council directive implementing the Framework Agrement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector concluded by HOSPEEM and EPSU

P7_TA(2010)0030

European Parliament resolution of 11 February 2010 on the proposal for a Council directive implementing the Framework Agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector concluded by HOSPEEM and EPSU (COM(2009)0577)

2010/C 341 E/13

The European Parliament,

having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council directive implementing the Framework Agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector concluded by the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) (COM(2009)0577),

having regard to Articles 153(1)(a) and 155 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,

having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Article 31(1) thereof,

having regard to Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (1),

having regard to Council Directive 89/655/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work (second individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (2),

having regard to Council Directive 89/656/EEC of 30 November 1989 on the minimum health and safety requirements for the use by workers of personal protective equipment at the workplace (third individual directive within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (3),

having regard to Directive 2000/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents at work (seventh individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (4),

having regard to the Framework Agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector concluded by HOSPEEM and EPSU,

having regard to the fact that the Framework Agreement included a joint request for the Commission to implement the Agreement by a Council decision on a proposal from the Commission, in accordance with Article 155(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,

having regard to its resolution of 24 February 2005 on promoting health and safety at the workplace (5),

having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 with recommendations to the Commission on protecting European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needle-stick injuries (6),

having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2008 on the Community strategy 2007–2012 on health and safety at work (7),

having regard to Rule 84(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.

whereas needle-stick injuries may lead to the transmission of more than 20 life-threatening viruses, including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV/Aids, and thus present a serious health problem,

B.

whereas needle-stick injuries and other injuries caused by sharp medical instruments represent one of the most common and serious risks for health workers throughout Europe; considering that hospital staff and health professionals often risk infections caused by injuries as a result of the use of needles or other sharp instruments,

C.

whereas independent studies have shown that the majority of needle-stick injuries can be prevented by better training, better working conditions and the general use of safer medical instruments incorporating sharps protection mechanisms,

D.

whereas experts estimate that there are more than one million needle-stick injuries in the European Union every year,

E.

whereas the psychological and emotional impact following a needle-stick or other sharps injury can be enormous, even when an infection is not subsequently contracted, as the worker and his or her family face many months of uncertainty regarding the health outcome of the injury,

F.

whereas the initiative to provide a legislative solution to adequately protect Europe’s healthcare workers from potentially fatal blood-borne infections due to injuries with needles and other sharp medical instruments originates in its abovementioned resolution of 6 July 2006,

G.

whereas there is a serious shortage of healthcare staff and studies suggest that the serious health risks faced on a daily basis form one of the main reasons why a career in healthcare is considered unattractive; whereas the European Competitiveness Report 2004 recognised the increasing shortage of workers in the health sector as a matter of particular concern for the European Union,

H.

whereas the entry into force of the Framework Agreement will represent an important contribution to protecting the health and safety of workers active in the hospital and healthcare sector,

I.

whereas it is necessary to ensure the highest possible level of safety in the working environment in hospitals and wherever healthcare activities are undertaken,

J.

whereas legislation concerning social issues should avoid imposing unnecessary administrative, financial and legal constraints which could hinder the development of small and medium-sized enterprises,

1.

Welcomes the fact that the Commission has requested Parliament's opinion, particularly since this is an issue that has received considerable attention from Parliament over a period of many years;

2.

Recognises that the proposed Council directive incorporates the most significant findings of its abovementioned resolution of 6 July 2006;

3.

Welcomes the fact that the Framework Agreement has been developed on an equal basis in cooperation between HOSPEEM (European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association) and the FSESP (Fédération Syndicale Européenne des Services Publics), who are recognised by the Commission as European social partners in the hospital and healthcare system;

4.

Welcomes the fact that the Framework Agreement entails a clause on ‘minimum standards’ without prejudice to existing and future national and Community provisions that are more favourable to workers. Recalls that the Member States and/or the social partners should be free and encouraged to adopt additional measures which are more favourable to workers in the area concerned;

5.

Recommends that the measures defined in the proposed directive be urgently adopted and implemented, as the workers in question have already waited more than five years since this very serious matter was first brought to the Commission's attention;

6.

Calls upon the Commission to draw up and issue guidance to accompany the agreement and thereby assist with its smooth implementation in all Member States;

7.

Calls on the Commission to monitor the application process for the Agreement and to inform, on a regular basis, the European Parliament on its implementation;

8.

Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the social partners which are party to the Framework Agreement.


(1)  OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, p. 1.

(2)  OJ L 393, 30.12.1989, p. 13.

(3)  OJ L 393, 30.12.1989, p. 18.

(4)  OJ L 262, 17.10.2000, p. 21.

(5)  OJ C 304 E, 1.12.2005, p. 400.

(6)  OJ C 303 E, 13.12.2006, p. 754.

(7)  OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 14.