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Sharps Disposal, How to Protect Yourself

March 2, 2022

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Sharps Disposal, How to Protect Yourself

Sharps Disposal, How to Protect Yourself from Infectious Blood Borne Diseases. The American Nurses Association reports that between 600,000 and 800,000 needlestick and other percutaneous injuries occur annually to health care workers. Healthcare facilities and home health-care agencies are especially vulnerable to sharp waste because needles and other sharps pose a serious threat to employees and patients. That’s why we offer sharps waste management services for healthcare facilities and any business that generates sharps medical waste.

Handling Sharps

Care must be taken at every step to ensure safe handling and disposal of sharps waste.

Prior to Use:

Preparation and awareness are the two key factors in dealing with sharps waste.

When dealing with sharps always make sure to organize the equipment at the point of use and make sure that there is proper lighting.

All equipment that is required for a procedure should be available within arm’s reach.

Before using any sharps check to be sure that the sharps container is close by for disposal.

In the case of a cart, place it as near to the point of use as possible.

When using reusable sharps, check ahead of time as to where the sharps will be placed for post-use handling.

Be aware of all individuals, including the patient and staff that are near before using sharps.

Check with your health care and/or prescription insurance providers/drug manufacturer to see if they cover the cost of FDA-cleared sharps containers.

After Use:

Use FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. If an FDA-cleared container isn’t available, use a heavy-duty plastic household container such as a laundry detergent bottle.

When using a household container make sure it complies with the basic requirements of a good disposal container.

To reduce risk of injuries, immediately put all used sharps, including needles, into a sharps disposal container.

When traveling, carry a portable sharps disposal container.

Be aware of and follow community/state guidelines for final disposal of the sharps containers.

To find out community guidelines, contact a local public health department or professional medical waste disposal company to learn about the area’s sharps disposal programs.

If you are seeking information about getting an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, contact your local hospital, health care provider, veterinarian or pharmacist.

Speak to the same professionals to learn about how to dispose of your sharps and the recommended sharps disposal locations nearby.

Keep all sharps and the sharps disposal containers away from the reach of pets and children.

Seal and label all sharps disposal containers when they are ready to be disposed of.

Know the official local/state organization to contact if there is a problem associated with sharps or sharp disposal containers.


Place sharps, including loose needles into the standard trash.

Place sharps or needles into any recycling bins – they cannot be recycled and present a danger.

Flush sharps or needles down the toilet.

Make any attempt to bend, remove, recap, or break needles that have been used by another individual. This can cause accidental needle sticks that can transmit diseases and serious infections.

Try to remove a needle without the use of a needle clipper. This action can cause the needle to fly off, fall off, or become lost and can cause injuries.

Disposing of Sharps Waste

Make sure the disposal container is an FDA cleared sharps container made for disposing of sharp objects. Replace containers when they hit the full line marked on the container or if no line is present when they are two-thirds full.

When disposing of sharps remember to follow these best practices.

Never put your fingers into the sharps container. If the needle has tubing attached to it, hold the needle and the tubing when you put it in the sharps container. Sharps containers should be at eye level and within your reach. If a needle is sticking out of the container, do not push it in with your hands. Have the container removed. Or a trained person may use tongs to push the needle back into the container. If you find an uncovered sharp object outside of a disposal container, it is safe to pick it up only if you can grasp the non-sharp end. If you cannot, use tongs to pick it up and dispose of it. If your sharps involve broken glass never use your hand to pick it up, always use a device like a broom and pan to avoid being accidently cut.

When your sharps container is full it must be sealed or locked with the lid and then may be placed in your biohazard box or bin for safe disposal.

Contact Healthcare Waste Management today for a free quote on your sharps container disposal needs at 888-427-5797.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Infection Control. Accessed March 1, 2022.

Bloodborne Pathogens – Evaluating and Controlling Exposure. Accessed March 1, 2022.

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