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What happens if businesses don’t dispose of Sharps correctly?

What is Sharps?

Sharps refers to a term used in medicine used to describe devices with sharp edges or sharp points which can cut or puncture the skin. It includes scalpels, needles, syringes barber blades, razors lancets and glass. Sharps are used at the workplace, at home or while on the move to treat medical issues.
Are Sharps hazardous or non-hazardous?

It’s crucial to recognize that there are three kinds of sharps. They can be distinguished by sharps which are:

Contaminated by cytotoxic and cytostatic medications
It is also a component of other medicines.
Uncontaminated and not employed to administer medicine.

Sharps used in a healthcare setting in which they were employed on a patient who isn’t suffering from an infectious disease and does not require medication i.e. blood donors are classified as safe sharps.

Sharps that are affected and contaminated by medicine is considered hazardous waste and must be transported, stored and destroyed in accordance with handling hazardous waste regulations to reduce the risk to human health and the environment.

The benefits of using safe disposal methods for Sharps

As an organization you have the primary obligation to ensure your employees safe and avoid any accidents or injuries in the workplace. This includes preventing injury from sharp objects. In the Health and safety (Sharp instruments for healthcare) Regulations 2013, states that all industries must offer the safest sharps disposal facilities when it is a good practice to provide them. By providing the correct Sharps bins that are colour-coded organizations are putting steps in place to avoid the possibility of injury from sharps or cross-contamination.

There are many benefits of having safe sharps bins in yellow at work. The most important benefit is that it helps lower the risk of bloodborne infections like HIV, HBV & HCV and other illnesses that could be contracted by contaminated sharps i.e. needles, syringes needles or scalpels. Without the proper bins for sharps to ensure the prompt disposal of dangerous sharps, this can cause serious harm to the general population or your employees.

What happens if businesses fail to get rid of Sharps in a proper manner?

Sharp objects can cause injuries to the person putting out the waste as well as the person who is removing this waste out of the initial location. This is the reason for this danger that it is essential to store sharps waste and removed separately from the waste to prevent punctures, scratches to the skin or associated skin injury.

Along with the danger of physical injuries, sharps waste could pose a danger of infection since they are typically employed for medical reasons which put them exposed to bodily fluids such as blood and other. Blood contact should be treated with extreme care and handled with extreme precautions, even a small amount of infected fluid from sharps could transmit diseases like HBV, HCV and HIV. If there isn’t a properly disposing of any sharps there is the risk of serious injuries and cross-contamination as well as other issues within the workplace.

It is vital to realize that having effective methods for disposal of sharps when essential is a legal requirement that is enforced by the Health and Safety at Work Act. Not complying with the rules can be regarded as an offense that could cause closure of your company, as well as severe penalties and fines. It could even lead to the possibility of prosecution.

Where are sharps containers placed?

Because of the substance of the bins, they must be kept in a safe place away from people with disabilities, patients and anyone else who could be in danger. This is the reason that they shouldn’t be placed on the ground or above shoulder height as they may be tip-over.

It is vital that they remain at an eye level and readily accessible for the requirement of instant disposable. Sharps bins should be kept in a safe and secure location within a space for clinical use. It is recommended by the NHS to make use of an apron, wall or trolley brackets to anchor them to a solid surface. To decrease the chance of injury an image of Sharps disposal guidelines must be posted next to each trash bin, in a clearly visible manner.

Colours of Sharps bins

As per the UN approved color-coding process, any waste that comes from sharps bins must be separated into various bins which are recognized by the different colours of lids according to the type of trash. This is designed to facilitate ease for recognition and disposal by the producer and disposer. Sharps bins of all kinds are yellow with lid that is different in colour to indicate the different types of trash.

Sharps disposal colour code system

If not properly appropriately disposed of could cause harm or cause cross contamination. this is why the colour-coding system has been put used to help identify which bin is appropriate for the purpose of disposing of different sharps. The graphic below is an aid in understanding the colors used to segregate:

Please note that this color coded waste system is applicable to the disposal of waste within England as well as Wales.

How do you eliminate sharps container

Sharps waste bins should be removed from the area when they’re at least three-quarters filled. By ensuring that sharps waste is removed from the bins when they are empty you’ll have a less risk when handling sharps waste. It will also prevent the possibility of needles and syringes escaping from the bin, and causing injury to the person using it.

The most commonly used ways to dispose of sharps containers is via monitored unsafe waste collections sites, or employing a licensed waste management firm to pick up all sharps-related waste in a regular, consistent service schedule. A licensed company will ensure that your waste is taken care of and removed correctly and is the most secure way to ensure that employees don’t have to dispose of any waste at the collection sites for themselves.

Which businesses could benefit from Sharps bins?

Anyone who generates or makes use of clinical waste is thought as a medical waste producer, and must follow the laws of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The law imposes the ‘Duty of Care on any person who imports, transports and produces, maintains or gets rid of Sharps, or other clinical waste to implement all necessary measures to dispose of sharps waste properly and avoid injuries from sharps. The need for sharps bins is growing exponentially because of the administration of the covid-19 vaccine there is a variety of industries that can profit from the sharps disposal containers:

Medical

The most frequent locations to locate sharps disposal bins are medical institutions like hospitals doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, and dentists. The availability of sharps disposal bins in these kinds of industries is essential because they are likely to handle sharps waste that has been infected with harmful chemicals, drugs or bodily fluids. If handled incorrectly, it could cause harm or result in cross contamination.

Schools

There are a lot of things at schools which could be categorized as sharp objects. These objects include staples, scissors pins, staples, and other stationary equipment which could be sharp. Apart from that other items, there’s a second need for sharps disposal bins in schools. It’s located within the emergency area. Medical instruments are typically located in the first aid area and that’s the reason why you should have an access point to sharps disposal bins to allow people who handle sharps waste and to get rid of the waste promptly.

Cosmetic Industries

It’s no surprise that tattoo salons, cosmetic salons, parlours, salons for piercing or hairdressers will likely employ sharps for their daily tasks, such as tattoos Botox as well as acupuncture. Because of their dependence of sharp instruments, it’s crucial that businesses dealing in cosmetics have sharps waste disposal containers that can dispose of their waste in a safe manner.

Industry of clothing

It’s likely that firms in the garment industry like seamstresses, tailors, or shoemakers will require needles regularly. Since needles are considered to be an item that is sharp, it’s essential to dispose of them in a safe manner using yellow sharps disposal bins.

Food industry

Restaurants and other establishments in the food industry must offer sharps disposal bins in order to dispose of garbage like broken knives, glasses and crockery if they require it.

Care Homes

Residential care homes and external care offered in people’s homes are an industry sectors that depend on properly disposing of sharps and, therefore, would benefit from the sharps bins. Healthcare professionals could be required to use sharps as in their daily routine Therefore, they must be able to ensure that sharps are safely removed.

Practices of veterinary medicine

Another popular location to discover the requirement of sharps waste disposal containers is in veterinary practices. Because they rely of sharp objects regularly and the high demand for sharps, it’s crucial that companies in this field can access sharps removal bins so that they can ensure that they dispose of dangerous waste in a safe manner.

Sharps Disposal in Public Places and Washroom

The provision of sharps bins in public locations is a topic of debate for many. However, it’s not a surprise that washrooms in public areas have become the most frequent place where people can get their recreational drugs and, as a result it can lead to dangerous waste being discarded in public areas, or put in the form of nappy bins, genera waste or sanitary bins. These pose serious health risks for the public at large.

The most sensible way to ensure that hazardous waste is not stored in the open is to set up sharps bins in public restrooms and other public spaces However, many people consider that this will encourage illegal use of drugs by providing disposal facilities for users. As recreational drug use becomes an ever-growing concern for both communities and businesses The waste produced is now recognized as a serious public safety concern.

Regulative Guidelines on Sharps Disposal

With the numerous types of waste, and more processes for managing waste today it is difficult to keep track of the rules and best practices. But due to the severe risk of a injury, hospitals are under the legal obligation of implementing guidelines designed to protect their employees.

The laws governing disposal of sharps state that employers are obliged to comply with the current health and safety laws to ensure that hazards from sharp injuries are properly identified and that appropriate controls are in place i.e. that safe sharp bin disposal equipment is installed to ensure that employees and guests protected.

According to the Sharps Regulations 2015, all sharps-related waste must be removed by using colour-coded, safe trash bins. Whenever it is feasible, businesses must:

Place sharps bins in a secure and safe area away from children.
All sharps must be disposed immediately following use, with the proper handling technique.
Instruct and inform all employees on the proper disposal of sharps rules and regulations using simple and clear instructions.
Reduce Sharps’ use, and only use them when it is it is necessary to do so.