In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 385,000 needlesticks and related sharps injuries happen each year in the healthcare setting. Most sharps, especially needles, are designed to penetrate human skin and therefore often become contaminated with blood. Blood may contain various pathogens, such as hepatitis B virus, HIV and other dangerous substances.
Your facility likely has a sharps management program. to prevent your medical personnel from contracting these diseases, But how effective is it ? Our Glycon LLC medial waste removal company provides sharps disposal services for numerous local hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices. Here are a few tips to help you fine-tune your approach to sharps management and reduce the risk of needlestick injuries among your employees.
What Are Sharps?
Sharps are mainly any medical tools or devices that can puncture skin and would likely puncture a regular medical waste bag. Sharps may include such items as:
Needles and syringes, IV needles, Scalpel blades, Lancets, Insulin pens and other auto-injectors, Broken or fragile glass.
Always remember that these items become regulated medical waste only when they are contaminated with blood, which is what most of them are used for. Glass vials, ampules, tubes and slides may also become sharp if they break. If they are contaminated with blood, they should also be treated as sharps and disposed of accordingly.
Disposable vs. Reusable Sharps: Mainly, sharps used in medical facilities are the disposable kind. However, certain sharp items such as scalpels and similar tools may be reusable. While using reusable sharps in your facility, make sure they are collected in a separate container and are properly disinfected in an autoclave or through a different method.
Sharps Collection: Disposable sharps, after having been used, should be immediately placed in a designated disposable sharps container. This lower the risk of a sharp item being dropped on the floor or coming in contact with another person. Sharps containers are specially designed for sharps management and feature a wide enough opening for large objects, as well as a built-in mechanism for unhooking needles. GLYCON LLC supplies sharps containers for both large and small-volume sharps generators.
Only you decide where to place your sharps containers, but it’s best when they are always available at the point of waste generation. The least distance your staff has to cover to drop the sharps waste in a container, the better.
What NOT to Do
- Don’t throw sharps in the trash or in biohazard bags.
- Don’t bend needles and other thin sharp objects to try to make them fit into a container.
- Don’t overfill the sharps disposal container.
- Don’t try to recap a needle.
- Don’t pass a sharp object to another person unless absolutely necessary.
Sharps Injury Reduction
If you tend to reduce the number of sharps-related injuries in your facility, one of the possible solutions is to reduce the number of sharps. This may sound silly at first, but when you use it may be possible to substitute a sharp tool with another tool that does the job equally well. For example, certain medications may be available to be administered orally instead of intravenously. Otherwise, a blunt-edge needle may be used instead of a sharp-edge needle.
Medical equipment and supplies have greatly developed over the past decade in terms of safety features. If you try to upgrade your equipment, you will manage to reduce the staff needle stick injuries in a noticeable manner. Think of carrying out the following:
- Syringes with needles that retract
- Safety ampule breakers
- Unbreakable plastic blood collection tubes
- Knives with integrated retractable shields
Do you want to find a reliable medical waste management service to take care of your sharps waste? Give us a call (844) 494-8222 and we’ll be happy to help!