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Australian Standards AS 23907:2023

Summary of Sharps injury protection - Requirements and test methods - Sharps containers (ISO 23907-2:2019, MOD)

AS23907:2023 – Sharps Injury Protection

The purpose of AS23907:2023 is to set out national standard sets out the requirements for single-use and reuseable sharps containers intended to hold potentially hazardous sharps, medical waste with or without sharps protection features.

AS23907:2023 supersedes AS4031:1992,1996 (non-reuseable containers for the collection of sharp medical items used in health care areas) as well as AS4261:1994, 1997 (reusable containers for the collection of sharp items used in human and animal medical applications)

New standard published and effective from 1st July 2023.

AS23907:2023 prepared by the Joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committee HE-011.


Reason for update

Unify the standards between single use and reusable sharps containers.
Prevent sharps injury both through physical aspects of the container as well as the functional and workflow consideration of the user.
Environmental considerations. AS23907:2023 states that “materials used in construction should minimise harmful impacts to the environment during manufacture, distribution, use and ultimate disposal.”


Main changes in the design of sharps containers from AS4031:1992

Specify the colours of sharps containers according to their contents.
- Yellow for biohazardous sharps
- Purple for cytotoxic sharps
- Yellow and orange lid for pharmaceutical sharps and other sharps requiring incineration.
- Sharps containers shall be colour coded such that the colours are visible from all lateral angles from a distance of 3 metres and can be achieved by polymer colour, label or other means.
 - These requirements enable use of recycled polymer in manufacturing.
Closure requirements
- Containers shall have both Temporary and Permanent closure.
- Temporary closure shall be capable of being re-opened by one hand without the need to grasp the body of the container.
- Permanent closure, once activated, should be resistant to manual opening.
- There shall be an indicator or mechanism to clearly differentiate the permanent and temporary closure engagements.
- Containers intended to be placed in public access areas should be designed to restrict hand entry and removal of contents from the container.
Penetration requirements
- 20N (previously 12.5 N)
Recommend not to separate needle and syringe during disposal