A sharp is any object that can penetrate the skin, including (but not limited to) items such as needles, scalpels, and broken glass. The OSHA BBP Standard prohibits the manual manipulation of needles, including bending, recapping, shearing, or breaking of contaminated needles.
Sharps containers MUST be:
- Closable and remain upright
- Leak-proof on the sides and bottom
- Labeled or color-coded
- Easily accessible to personnel and located as close as possible to the immediate area where sharps are used
- Replaced routinely and not be allowed to overfill
Containers must not be opened, emptied, or cleaned by hand, or manipulated in any manner that could expose an employee to blood or cause injury. When a sharps container is ready to be discarded, the lid must be closed tightly. A good practice is to use three-fourths full as an indication to replace a sharps container.