Sharps Disposal Advice: questions to ask before you buy a container


Sharps Disposal Advice: questions to ask before you buy a container

Advanced medical treatment forms the backbone of modern society. Now more than ever before, people are living longer, healthier, happier lives due to advances in medical care. The most important aspect of our healthcare system is safety, and companies like our medical waste removal service work side by side with the health industry to ensure that hazardous medical waste is properly disposed of so that the public remains safe. Perhaps the most common form of waste that we work with is sharps waste. Used needles, lancets, and other potentially dangerous objects must be disposed of properly in your facility according to government regulations. Proper sharps disposal means getting an approved container. Sharps containers are on the front line of the battle against the spread of disease outside of your facility. They are readily available, but before you decide to buy there are a few questions you should ask.

First, what should go in a disposal container?

Before we present the questions you need to ask before going to buy your container(s), you should know what has to go into it. The rule from OSHA is that a sharp is any potentially contaminated medical object that could penetrate the skin. This applies to:

● Needles
● Scalpels
● Lancets
● Glass containers
● Capillary tubes
● Exposed dental wires
● Syringes
● Other blades
● And all injection devices

It’s important to remember that devices attached to these objects also must be disposed with them. This includes objects such as tubes. Due to the risk of injury and contamination, these objects cannot be put into normal trash containers.

Questions to ask before you buy a sharps container

In order to make sure that you get the right kind of container and the proper amount, let’s run through some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

1) Are you a business or an individual?

We know it may seem simple, but there could possibly be differing regulations in regards to procedure should you be a large entity like a business or a hospital or just an individual at home. For individuals at home, it may be suitable to use a different container should you only have a small amount of waste. Although we always recommend buying commercial-use and OSHA-approved containers, you could use a sturdy container at home. As long as it is puncture-resistant, leak-proof, and compliant with water absorbency and temperature regulations, you can use it. A good example of this is a coffee tin or a sturdy plastic bleach bottle.

If you are a business, then your working conditions and the vast amount of waste makes this impossible. You need to get commercial medical containers. Many businesses opt to save the time and money and use professional medical waste removal services that provide the equipment for them. Consult the FDA’s page about containers for more information.

2) Which Type of Facility Do You Have?

If you are a business or other commercial/public entity, then you need to get the type of container that suits your business best. It all depends on how much waste you are producing, how often you produce it, and which kind you produce. A few things to keep in mind are:

● Are children in your facility? – if you are a pediatric clinic, then you will want containers with rotating cylinder lids to prevent the small hands of children entering by accident. Family practices should always bear this in mind.

● Which types of waste do you produce? – the type of waste you produce normally determines the container. For example, if you are a surgical clinic that produces heavy amounts of surgical waste, then you will need a container with a wide opening to promote fast and convenient disposal. The same goes for diagnostic labs and similar institutions. If you are a small dental clinic, then a smaller container with a regular-sized opening will do the trick.

● How much do you produce? – hospitals and other large institutions produce such vast amounts of medical waste that they have no choice but to use professional services. If you are a small business, though, you might not even need one. Your average tattoo parlor in a small city might be interested in a mail-back program instead.

The type of facility you are will determine which kind of container you’ll need. It’s best to consult with a professional to find out what’s best for you.

3) Secured and stationary or mobile?

If you are in a normal work or healthcare environment, then chances are you will only be dealing with secured and stationary sharps containers. They should always be fastened to the wall and unobstructed. Make sure the fill line is visible at all times. There are times, however, when a mobile container could help. If you are working in EMS, conducting house calls, or otherwise mobile(such is the case with blood donations centers), then you are required to have them.

The value of professional help

The regulations regarding the healthcare industry are constantly evolving, and not being in compliance can result in a hefty fine or worse. The complexity of the situation and the time investment that most companies would have to commit is the reason why professional medical waste removal services are in such high demand. Waste removal services will make sure that you are OSHA compliant, equipped with the best containers for your situation, and free to focus on the work that you do best. Free consultations and regular pickups ensure that your workplace is kept safe and sanitary.

The safety of your patients or patrons, your staff, and the public at large depend on the safe disposal and removal of medical waste. Sharps disposal is by far one of the most important aspects of this industry. With the large volume of needles, syringes, scalpels and other instruments produced on a daily basis in the Boston Area, it’s our responsibility to make sure that infectious diseases don’t spread. Ask yourself these questions before purchasing your containers, or consult with professionals to get the best advice.

1 Comment

  • Thanks for the excellent advice! Making sure to keep any sharps disposal containers fastened to the wall and unobstructed seems like an excellent idea. If they are unobstructed it would make it easier for anyone who needs to use them can easily find them. I would imagine that making sure they are in a place where they could be easily reached by those who would need access to them would be a good idea as well.

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