HSE advice on staying safe from sharps
Steps for remaining ‘sharps safe’ are summarised below.
- Avoid leaving sharps lying around;
- Avoid re-sheathing any used needles/razors;
- Do not bend/break needles before discarding them;
- Place contaminated sharps/razors in disposal containers approved to BS 7320:1990, immediately after use;
- Close the aperture to the sharps container when carrying or if left unsupervised, to prevent spillage or tampering;
- Lock the container when it is three-quarters full using the closure mechanism. Do not try to press sharps down to make more room;
- Place damaged sharps containers inside a larger sharps container. Lock and label the container with premises/departmental address prior to disposal.
- Do not place anything sharp inside a yellow hazardous waste bag as it may cause injury;
- Do not use makeshift containers, eg drinks cans, bottles, cardboard boxes, for sharps disposal. They may find their way into domestic waste, presenting a hazard to refuse workers and members of the public;
- Do not try to retrieve items from a sharps container;
- Do not place sharps containers on the floor, window sills or above shoulder level. They should be stored above knee level and below shoulder level;
- Carry sharps containers by the handle, away from the body;
- Keep all sharps waste in a designated, secure area until it is collected.