You wouldn’t use a pitching wedge to put a golf ball or a spatula to whisk eggs, so why would you use an old plastic jug to store your used needles? Just as you’ve got to select the right club for the job, you’ve got to make sure you purchase the right sharps containers to protect employees from bloodborne pathogens.
Here are 5 things you need to know before you make a purchase.
- Choose Containers That are 510(k) Approved
The FDA requires all sharps containers be approved as class II medical devices. This approval process means your containers have also passed the rigorous 510(k) approval process.
Your containers must also be rigid, puncture-resistant, leak-proof (on the sides and the bottom), closable, and labeled properly. You must also ensure your containers are accepted by your disposal company, who may require you to use their own containers and bins for their employee’s safety.
- What Type of Practice Do You Run?
Different health care providers have different needs when it comes to sharps container management. Having said that, no matter what type of facility you run, you should always buy sharps containers or bins that have lids that accommodate the largest sharps you use.
You’ll most likely want to buy containers that allow for one-handed disposal and that also prevent your hand form entering the container. Family and pediatric practices should opt for a rotating cylinder lid – also called a “counterbalance lid” – which will keep tiny hands out of your sharps container.
- Know Your State’s Specific Regulations
No matter where you live, OSHA requires all employees who may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens receive annual training. Beyond that, your specific state may have its own requirements regarding waste disposal and training.
Find out more about your state’s regulations.
- How Fast Do You Accumulate Sharps Waste?
How often do you change your containers? Answering this question will help you determine how many and what size sharps containers you need.
- How Many Sharps Use Areas Do You Have?
You will want to identify each exam room and other areas of your office where sharps will be used. This will give you easy access when discarding sharps. You’ll also need a storage space for unused sharps containers, so you can replace full containers when necessary. And finally, you’ll need a secure location to store your used, filled sharps containers before they are picked up for disposal.
Have any questions about packing and disposing sharps waste? Get in touch with us today.