What is the proper way to safely dispose of sharps such as lancets and needles?
Sharps items include needles and lancets, as well as broken glass, razor blades, and any other devices capable of cutting or piercing the skin. Disposing of sharps can be dangerous if not done properly. Every year more than one million accidental needle sticks are reported, and it is estimated that an additional 66% needle sticks per year go unreported.
You can do your part to help prevent accidental needle sticks by following a few simple guidelines for sharps safety and disposal:
- If possible, destroy the sharps in such a manner as to make them unfit for reuse.
- Place used lancets, needles and sharps in a thick, puncture-proof, leak-proof container. Make sure that you can't see through this container and that it can be tightly sealed.
- Keep the container out of reach of children and animals.
- Before throwing away the sharps container, seal it with heavy-duty tape, and label the container "DO NOT RECYCLE."
Following these general guidelines can help minimize the risk of accidental needle sticks in your community. For more specific information about sharps disposal in your area, contact your local health department.