Frequently Asked Questions
Are Stericycle reusable sharps containers compliant with federal and state regulations?
The containers have Federal Drug Administration (FDA) 510k market clearance and are puncture resistant to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. In addition, our containers meet Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) bloodborne pathogens standards for collection, are installed at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended height and satisfy Department of Transportation (DOT) standards for transportation.
Why is FDA 510k clearance important for sharps containers?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) market clearance helps ensure that sharps containers meet their criteria for safe and effective use. Since contaminated sharps can transmit diseases and cause health issues, immediately disposing of sharps in a FDA-cleared container can help reduce the risk of injury and infection.
What are OSHA’s requirements for sharps containers?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard related to sharps containers requires that contaminated sharps be disposed of immediately, or as soon as feasible. Containers are required to be closable, puncture resistant, leakproof on sides and bottom and color-coded or labeled with biohazard symbol .
What are the NIOSH guidelines for sharps container height?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) provides research and guidance for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. To help reduce the number of sharps-related injuries, NIOSH guidelines provide guidance on the installation height of sharps containers. For disposal areas where healthcare workers are standing, the fixed sharps container height should be installed at a height where the opening is 52-56 inches from the standing surface. In areas where healthcare workers are seated, the sharps container height should be 38-42 inches from the floor.
How does Stericycle dispose of sharps and disinfect reusable sharps containers?
First, container lids are removed using robotic equipment. Then the contents are emptied and disinfected by autoclave and finally sent to a landfill or a waste-to-energy facility. The reusable sharps containers are disinfected and inspected prior to being sent into circulation for reuse.
Sharps containers are considered a class II medical device and a non-critical care item. Non-critical care items are instruments and other devices that do not directly come into contact with patients but may be contaminated during patient care. Stericycle follows the FDA recommendation of disinfection for non-critical care items and disinfects to an intermediate level.