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Sharps Disposal for Healthcare Providers



June 3, 2021



Sharps Disposal for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare environments are exposed to a number of potentially dangerous conditions. One of the most critical situations involves the handling, storage, and disposal of sharps.  These items are defined as any item that can pierce the skin and transmit or potentially transmit contagious diseases. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has estimated that there are around 385,000 sharps injuries that occur on an annual basis in U.S. hospitals with many more in other healthcare settings.  This increases the risk of transmitting bloodborne viruses such as HBV (hepatitis B), HCV (hepatitis C), and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Dealing with sharps requires taking every precaution and complying with the various state and federal laws to ensure that healthcare providers and patients remain safe.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

OSHA has created an extensive list of rules that are designed to maintain worker safety in the workplace and maintain the knowledge needed to reduce risk of exposure to pathogens. Various states have established specific guidelines so always check with your specific state to see the compliance rules. Federal laws supersede whenever there aren’t any state-specific laws. Medical waste disposal companies such as Healthcare Waste Management is knowledgeable on all OSHA guidelines for the states serviced and assists clients with required sharps containers, labeling, storage, disposal, and training for employees. Abiding by compliance laws are a necessity to ensure safety as well as avoid penalties, fines and potential legal ramifications due to incidents.

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

The EPA has established a number of laws as they relate to the emissions caused due to medical waste disposal. The laws are very specific and are listed under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Renticide (FIFRA) rules for approved methods for medical waste chemical treatments. As a professional and licensed medical disposal company, Healthcare Waste Management abides by and complies with all EPA disposal laws for sharps and all medical waste.

DOT (Department of Transportation)

The federal agency of DOT has created a compliance list of requirements for any organizations that transports hazardous waste which includes sharps, some animal tissues specimens, and all cultures that are included in that category. Licensed and professional medical waste disposal companies such as Healthcare Waste Management comply with the specific rules outlined for hazardous waste containment, storage, labeling, transport, and ultimate safe disposal. To assure that clients are protected, HWM supplies a certification of destruction as proof for compliance and legal situations.

General Compliance for Sharps

All sharps must be stored and transported in OSHA-approved sharps containers that comply with the requirements established by DOT or if using mail-in, by the USPS requirements.

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