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Blog     Healthcare Solutions     January 2014     Selecting, Evaluating, and Using Sharps Disposal Containers
Healthcare Solutions 30 January, 2014

Selecting, Evaluating, and Using Sharps Disposal Containers

In today’s healthcare environment, safety trumps all. As a healthcare provider, you’re well aware of the risks associated with accidental needlesticks and other sharps injuries, specifically as it relates to sharps disposal. Additionally, other people are also at risk if the sharps disposal system used by your facility does not provide adequate protection from a casual contact by a visitor, downstream worker, or other non-caregiver. 


Sharps Disposal at Your Facility

In choosing the proper sharps disposal system, many factors enter into play. These include the facility’s:
  • Logistics
  • Layout
  • Practices
  • Protocols

Federal Standards for Sharps Disposal

From there, NIOSH recommendations should be referenced. Per NIOSH: Sharps disposal containers that are functional, accessible, secure from patient or visitor tampering (if necessary), visible, and convenient to use will decrease the risk of percutaneous sharps injury. When looking to select an appropriate sharps disposal container, OSHA guidelines are clear regarding Federal standard of product performance and dsign, as well as facility practice. Sharps disposal containers must be:
  1. Closable
  2. Puncture Resistant
  3. Leak-proof on sides and bottom
  4. Labeled or color coded
  5. Maintained upright throughout use
  6. Replaced routinely and not be allowed to overfill
  7. Easily accessible or located where reasonably anticipated
(NIOSH / CDC “Selecting, Evaluating and Using Sharps Disposal Containers; DHHS {NIOSH} Publication No. 97-111)

Other Buying Considerations for Sharps Disposal

Purchasing containers that are manufactured to include: engineering controls, mounting brackets and other stabilizing hardware can help ensure compliance with government standards. Of course, implementing training regarding appropriate practices and protocols will further enhance the safety of the caregiver and others who may be in the site of care.

Remember: It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do!


Posted by Selin Hoboy