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Sharps Safety Summary

  • Use an appropriate sharps container, which MUST be:
    • Closable and remain upright
    • Puncture-resistant
    • Leak-proof on the sides and bottom
    • Labeled or color-coded
  • Place sharps containers where they are easily accessible to personnel and located as close as possible to the immediate area where sharps are used.
  • Replace sharps containers routinely to prevent overfilling.
  • Place all needles and other sharps in sharps disposal containers immediately (or as soon as feasible) after use.
  • Remember that self-sheathing and other safe needle devices are considered to be sharps and must be disposed of in a sharps container.
  • Use a safety device, mechanical device, or one-handed technique if necessary to recap, bend, or remove a contaminated sharp device (eg, when removing a scalpel blade from its handle). These actions are permissible ONLY if there is no feasible alternative.
  • Do not recap, bend, or remove needles from needle holders or disposable syringes.
  • Never shear or break contaminated sharps.
  • Do not fill sharps containers above the line that indicates maximum fill (no more than 3/4 full).
  • Do not place hand into the opening of a sharps container to prevent puncture/exposure.
  • Do not pick up contaminated, broken glass using your hands (use mechanical means, such as tongs, forceps, dust pan and brush).
  • Do not remove or replace a sharps container before closing to prevent spilling and risk of exposure/injury.