Sharps are any item that can pierce the skin and has the potential to transmit dangerous pathogens. While a majority of sharps are used in the healthcare industry, there are sharps such as syringes used in private industries for both personal disease states such as diabetes and for treatment for pets. Disposal of sharps in sharps containers is critical in maintaining safety for people and the environment. There are state and federal laws that dictate how sharps are disposed of and compliance is required for both healthcare and private use. Professional waste disposal companies such as Healthcare Waste Management are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of sharps storage, transport, and disposal.
Injuries due to sharps puts people at risk for transmission of deadly diseases that can affect their lives. In addition, the cost of treatment and investigating the injuries ends up being around $3,000 per needlestick, with the potential of over $1 billion in costs for the healthcare industry. Prevention of sharps injuries is paramount to keeping people safe and reducing overall costs.
The FDA does not recommend any sharps containers. However, the FDA cleared sharps containers are designed so that the potentially infected sharps can be placed inside the container in the small end to deter the ability of allowing hands to reach in and be injured. They must be sturdy, leak-proof, puncture-proof, and completely sealable. There are two types of FDA cleared containers:
For private/home use, the FDA recommends using a sturdy container such as a laundry bottle that has a tight-sealing lid. The exterior is required to have the universal biohazard label or to be marked showing that the contents are sharps. The containers can then be taken to a hospital that accepts biohazard waste or picked up by a licensed and certified disposal company such as Healthcare Waste Management.
Items that could pierce the skin and may contain a transmittable and dangerous pathogen such as HIV, hepatitis B & C and others are required to be placed into sharps containers for proper disposal.
Sharps can include but are not limited to:
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