Safety Issues on Medical Sharps and Ways How to Properly Dispose Them

Safety regulations and policies are implemented to protect the welfare and health of the people. In the health care industry of Australia, strict safety guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of all medical workers. Since health care workers are constantly exposed to occupational hazards, which may not only result in serious injuries and diseases but fatalities as well. This is why it is extremely important for hospitals and health care facilities to religiously follow safety regulations set by the government and related agencies.

The Importance of Proper Disposal of Medical Sharps and Container

Medical sharps are some of the most dangerous wastes that a hospital produces. Every day, millions of people get blood extractions, administered with intravenous medication that needs a ton of used, waste needles. However, some hospitals improperly manage the discarded needles and other waste sharps. This negligent handling of sharps can pose a serious health risk not just to the public but the hospital waste workers themselves. These organizations fail to adhere to protocols and even fail to properly use sharps container, which results in grave consequences.

Sharps are very hazardous wastes. The improper handling of the discarded needles and sharps leave these workers vulnerable to needle stick injuries and worse, infection should these sharps and containers break open. Janitors and housekeepers that work in these hospitals face possible loose sharps poke when collecting and handling garbage bags. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, serious diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV, and even AIDS can be transmitted because of the negligent handling of such waste. This practice breeds a dangerous working environment for workers. For this reason, businesses, community groups, nonprofit organizations, and representatives formed a group called The Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal that aims to promote and present possible solutions to safely dispose needles, syringes, and other sharps wastes produced by hospitals.

Safest Ways to Get Rid of Sharps

There have been a good number of studies that provide light to the best and safest ways to dispose sharps and containers. As a result, there are different programs health care facilities can choose from, and these include the following: Some of the programs proposed by the coalition:

  • Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites. Under this program, sharps must be contained and sent to the proper collection sites. The service could be free or a nominal fee may be imposed to ensure that doctor’s offices, hospitals, pharmacies, health departments, and fire stations dispose their sharps properly.
  • Mail-back Program. The facilities can collect sharps and place them in special containers and return it via mail to a designated collection site. These will pave way for the proper disposal of such waste which may require a fee given the logistical needs that this program entails.
  • At Home Needle Destruction Devices. To minimize, if not totally eliminate the possibility of sharps injuries, a home can order devices that will sever, burn, or melt the needles so it could be safe for disposal. Equipment can be searched through the internet and be ordered for a fee.
  • Operating a hospital or care home is indeed a very serious task. To ensure the prevention of sharps injuries, hospital or care home administrators must take a good look and study these programs to see which applies to them best. By doing these, they will be able to prevent unnecessary hassles because of injuries that sharps disposal may bring about.

    Provided that improper disposal of sharps could result in fatal consequences among healthcare workers and even to the general public, Australian medical facilities and organizations are required to follow certain guidelines. These guidelines and policies aim to reduce chances of spreading of infectious diseases resulting from improper sharps disposal. Hence, it is a must for any hospital or clinic to invest on top quality sharps container to ensure proper handling and management of clinical wastes.