Safe Sharps Disposal: Best Practices and Handling in Primary Care10 August 2023
Ensure safe sharps disposal in primary care with expert practices from Sharpsafe. Handle sharps responsibly for a secure healthcare environment.
In primary care settings, sharps refer to medical devices with sharp points or edges utilised in various procedures like injections, blood collection, and minor surgical interventions. Sharps, which include needles, syringes, lancets, scalpers, and other instruments, can cause puncture wounds or cuts if not disposed of and handled properly. Through proper disposal and handling of sharps, injuries can be prevented, and infections can be reduced.
To ensure safe sharps disposal and handling in primary care, here are some of the best practices one should implement and follow.
Use Sharps Containers
Sharps should never be disposed of in regular trash bins or recycling containers as they can easily damage them and harm people. Dedicated sharps containers should be used for safe disposal. These containers are specifically designed to prevent accidental needlesticks and leakage. They are often made from materials that are resistant to puncture and leak-proof. They likewise boast a secure lid to avoid easy access to sharps waste.
Place Containers Strategically
Sharps containers may be effective in handling sharps, but they should be placed in strategic locations. Doing this ensures that healthcare providers and patients may access them conveniently. The sharps containers should be placed at eye level to increase visibility and remind users of their presence. Some strategic locations where sharps containers can be installed are treatment rooms and examination areas.
Dispose of Sharps Properly
Discarding and handling sharps should be done optimally to avoid them from injuring people or damaging surrounding elements. Ideally, sharps must be placed immediately into the sharps containers after use without recapping or bending the needles. The containers must also not be overfilled to decrease the risk of needlestick injuries. Once they are approximately two-thirds full, they should be sealed tightly and replaced immediately.
Install Clear Signage
Clear signage should be installed and displayed near sharps containers to indicate their purpose and emphasise the essence of proper disposal. Educational posters or infographics must be displayed to illustrate safe sharps handling techniques. And if necessary, instructions should be provided in multiple languages.
Train Healthcare Providers
Safe sharps disposal and handling in primary care can be carried out effectively if healthcare providers receive the right training. They should undergo comprehensive training on sharps disposal and handling protocols. They should know proper sharps disposal techniques, the significance of immediate sharps disposal, and the potential risks related to improper handling. These professionals must take regular refresher courses to ensure continued compliance.
Establish a Partnership
A partnership with a licensed medical waste disposal company can benefit professionals in primary care as they can discard their collected sharps waste effectively. The services offered by such companies can help them handle, transport, and dispose of sharps waste following regulatory requirements set by the governing bodies.
Implementing these best practices can help primary care facilities create a safe environment for healthcare providers and patients. Safe sharps disposal and handling not only prevent injuries and infections but also contribute to waste management and environmental sustainability.