Healthcare Solutions 12 May, 2015

What Goes in a Sharps Container?

Most states provide guidelines to define what belongs in a regulated medical waste sharps container.

Federal OSHA describes the discarding and containment of sharps in the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard where it states, “contaminated sharps shall be discarded immediately or as soon as feasible.”

What is a sharp? OSHA's Federal Standard defines a sharp as any contaminated object that can penetrate the skin. All of the following can be put in a sharps container, including but not limited to:

  • Needles
  • Scalpels
  • Broken glass
  • Broken capillary tubes
  • Exposed ends of dental wires.
  • Cardio-catheter wires
  • Disposable suture sets and biopsy forceps
  • Electrocautery devices (tips only)

What should you avoid putting in a sharps container? All of the following should not be disposed of through a sharps container:

  • Medication and Medication Wrappers
  • Aerosols or inhalers
  • Garbage or liquids of any kind
  • Batteries of any type
  • Cauterizers
  • Fluorescein
  • Hazardous, chemical, radioactive or red bag waste (non-sharps regulated medical waste)
  • Fixatives and preservatives

Posted by Stericycle

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