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Sharps Disposal

May 11, 2021

Sharps Disposal

How to correctly dispose of sharps waste

Sharps waste is a type of biomedical waste that has the ability to puncture or pierce skin.  If you are a business owner and your business deals with needles or other sharp objects you will need to be aware of how to correctly dispose of ‘sharps waste’. Whilst this subject can seem complex, and has a range of different regulations to comply with, it is vital to ensure you are well-prepared in order to reduce the risk of injury or contamination from any sharps waste produced by your business. Failure to do so can lead to injuries, spreading of infections, and even prosecution.

What is classified as Sharps Waste?

Common types of sharps waste include:

  • Needles and syringes (including tattoo and piercing needles)
  • Lancets
  • Infusion sets
  • Disposable scalpels and blades
  • Shards of bone or teeth
  • Retractors
  • Microscope slides
  • Types of medical tubes

Types of businesses that use sharps waste include:

  • Medical centres, hospitals & clinics
  • Dentists
  • Beauticians and beauty salons
  • Tattoo Parlours
  • Care homes
  • Schools & nurseries

As a business it is your responsibility to protect your employees against the risk of infection and sharps injuries. To do so you need to ensure the appropriate measures of control are in place for the safe disposal of sharps waste.

Sharps Segregation & Disposal

The segregation and disposal of sharps waste is determined on the basis of its medical contamination. Receptacles with different coloured lids (or sometimes the entire receptacle) will identify which type of sharp should be disposed of within that container:

Purple lid:  This colour identifies any sharp waste that has been contaminated with cytotoxic or cytostatic medicines. This type of waste will need to be disposed of in an authorised incinerator.

Yellow Lid: This colour identities any partially discharged sharps that have been contaminated with non-cytotoxic and non-cytostatic medicines. This type of waste must also be disposed of in an authorised incinerator.

Orange Lid: This colour identifies any sharps that are not contaminated with medicines. Disposal can be via an incinerator or disinfected at a suitably authorised facility using an alternative treatment.

It is worth noting that UN-approved sharps receptacles should be used for partially discharged syringes. Any documentation provided by your waste disposal service should accurately outline contents of the sharps’ receptacle and the presence of any waste medicines.

The Risks of Failing to Dispose of Sharps Waste Correctly

If sharps and used needles are not disposed of safely, they can be extremely dangerous to people, potentially causing injuries and spreading infections. Disposing of sharps waste correctly is a legal obligation and if this is not undertaken by a business it carries the risk of prosecution and significant fines.

WGS Waste Management work with clients from a range of sectors across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London. We provide a professionally managed sharps disposal service, with colour coded sharps waste bins and collection schedules that are tailored to the individual needs of your business.  All of our services are delivered inline with the latest health and safety regulations.

To discuss in further detail please contact our friendly team on 01892 725609

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