Compliance with Safer Sharps legislation – the UK Hall of Shame

Needle with drop of bloodThe Health and Safety Executive are not presently blessed with a reputation for efficiency, cherry-picking a few targets and concentrating on what might be considered the low hanging fruit in order to maximise Fee for Intervention.

But taking a look through their prosecutions database does show a list, perhaps a complete list, of those healthcare providers being one care home and the remainder hospitals, who have received an Improvement Notice due to failure to comply with Safer Sharps legislation.

It is truly a Hall of Shame.


Uxbridge Lister HospitalStevenageDec 2011
Furness General HospitalCumbriaNov 2013
Pinderfields General HospitalWakefieldJan 2014
Worthing & Southlands HospitalWorthingJan 2014
Akari Care LimitedWallsendJul 2014
The Princess Royal HospitalTelfordDec 2014
Dewi Sant HospitalPontypriddJan 2015
Russells Hall HospitalDudleyMar 2015
Hillingdon HospitalUxbridgeMay 2015
John Radcliffe HospitalOxfordMay 2015
Poole General HospitalPooleJul 2015
North Middlesex Hospital EdmontonJul 2015


The list is all the more notable by the big names that have been caught, and the recent dates listed against each Notice which testifies to a tawdry attitude to the safety of staff and others.

Most breaches been been recorded as “Failure to ensure safer sharps are used where necessary so far as is reasonably practicable or Failure to provide employees working with safer sharps training” or some variant thereof.

The presence of these failures is appalling. Those who have suffered sharps injury while working while their employer was failing in its duties to sharps safety should see a solicitor without delay.

But what about others, including those in the waste sector and cleaning contractors, laundry workers etc?  Waste handlers are at constant risk of sharps injury for inadequately packaged and carelessly disposed sharps. When handling wastes from centres not meeting its obligations to safer sharps then the risk must be heightened.

And if only HSE would work to ensure there were no others who are failing to adhere to the obligations of the Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013, AND accede to demands to introduce sharps injury to fall within RIDDOR, things might really improve.

Be very careful.



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