What is Sharps Waste

By definition, sharps waste is any biohazardous material that can puncture skin and is contaminated with bodily fluids. According to OSHA estimates, 5.6 million healthcare workers handling medical equipment such as needles, syringes, and scalpels are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens from sharps-related injuries. Therefore, it is crucial for medical clinics, practices, surgery centers, and other businesses that generate contaminated needles and syringes to dispose of medical sharps waste correctly.

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Proper Sharps Waste Management Requires:

  • Proper puncture-proof container
  • Care from the medical community
  • Proper training for dealing with sharps
  • A licensed medical waste disposal company for container removal

To reduce the risk of injury, the FDA recommends healthcare facilities and other waste generators follow a two-step process for proper medical sharps disposal:

  1. Place all needles and sharps in a verified sharps disposal container immediately after use.
  2. Overfilling containers increase risk of injury, so when 3/4 full, follow community guidelines on getting rid of the sharps container.
  3. Storage requirements and community guidelines vary by location. Please check your state page for a full list of regulatory requirements.

By following medical sharps disposal regulations, you can keep your business compliant and avoid unnecessary fees, reduce pollution to the environment, prevent injury, and prevent the spread of disease.

What Makes Sharps Containers Different?

  • Labeled as biohazard waste
  • Spill-proof star shaped opening at the top
  • Shatter and puncture proof material

How are Sharps Disposed of?

Sharps must be properly disposed of to prevent the spread of bloodborne diseases to healthcare workers and the general public. To do so, waste disposal companies sterilize sharps in an autoclave by using high pressure for 15-20 minutes to “deactivate” all bacteria and viruses on any material. Another method to sterilize sharps is to use is an incinerator, which uses high temperature to convert organic substances contained in the waste materials. This treatment is more typically used on chemotherapy sharps waste.

Sharps Disposal at Home

Many people who have diabetes or chronic diseases that require injections at home also have a need for this red box. Sharps of any type, even those used in a home, should never be thrown away in the trash. They should be kept separate from normal household garbage and disposed of through a professional company. For household sharps disposal options visit MedPro Mail.

For healthcare facilities looking for a simple, compliant and cost-effective sharps removal service, contact us today. With MedPro, we’ll create a customized and flexible service schedule and provide you with puncture-proof containers to simply seal and schedule for pick-up when full. For a smaller generators of waste, MedPro also offers a sharps mail-back service.

What to Do if You’re Accidently Stuck by a Sharp?

If you’re stuck by a needle or sharp waste, wash the exposed area immediately with soap or an antiseptic, such as rubbing alcohol. In addition, seek immediate medical attention from your local hospital.

For more information on sharps injury prevention, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website.

Follow these steps and regulations to help your business stay compliant and avoid unnecessary fees.