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Sharps Compliance

November 23, 2020

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Sharps Compliance

Sharps that are used in any form of medical or experimental environment that exposes them to potentially dangerous bloodborne, bacterial, or viral pathogens, like in our article about medical waste disposal and dangerous viruses, that can be transmitted are required by local, state, and federal laws to comply with specific rules. The compliance is to protect people, the community, and the environment from exposure to these dangerous elements and sharps are considered to be biohazardous waste. To learn more, you can read our article on Sharps Management Best Practices.

Sharps are any item that can pierce or cut the skin that has been exposed to a potentially dangerous pathogen. Sharps can include but are not limited to: hypodermic needles, scalpels, knives, broken glass and plastic, lancets, auto injectors, infusion sets, and connection needle/sets.  Critical care must be given to safe handling, storage, and disposal of sharps to avoid injury.

Any environment that generates sharps is required to be responsible for the biomedical and hazardous waste that they generate in a “cradle-to-grave” concept. This translates to the idea that the generator is responsible for ensuring the safety of people, the community, and the environment from any/all diseases that could be transmitted by sharps from the moment of creation to final destruction. Lack of compliance at any stage can result in high dollar fines.


Most states have a detailed list of sharps compliance under their OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules, if with any questions or guidelines defaulting to Federal OSHA guidelines. The regulations include such topics as employer requirements for certified training of staff, safe handling of sharps, correct process of placing sharps in approved and safe containers, and actions to take in an emergency condition for a sharps injury. Medical Waste Segregation is one of the most important steps when it comes to sharps.

Many of the healthcare organizations that generate medical waste make use of the better medical waste disposal companies that offer certified online training for staff to ensure that they are in compliance.

Best Practices:

The government organization lists the following for best practices/guidelines when dealing with sharps:

Best Companies for Sharps Disposal

Given the cradle-to-grave responsibility of the generator, the fewer people and companies that are involved in storage, removal and destruction reduces the potential of accident or infection/ transmission.  Some medical waste disposal company contract the work out to other organizations. The best companies will employ their own staff/employees/drivers, companies such as Healthcare Waste Management, own the trucks/vehicles used for medical waste pick up, and own their own processing facilities. Each of these actions of responsibility reduce the potential for accidents or transmission of communicable diseases. The best medical waste disposal companies will supply certification to the generator that displays a start-to-finish process that ensures that the sharps were rendered harmless. To understand more about sharps waste you can read our guide on, what is Biohazard Waste Pickup.

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