An Essential Step-By-Step Guide to Sharps Disposal for Home Patients

This guide was created to inform home patients about the correct techniques and precautions of sharps disposal, stressing its importance for a safe and sanitary environment. It details the types of sharps that require special handling as well as any hazards involved in not disposing properly. Following this “step by step” advice will allow you to confidently handle your own sharps disposal without worry or discomfort.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding sharps and their importance is essential for safety.
  • Proper storage, filling, sealing, and disposal of filled sharps containers are key to preventing accidents.
  • Following local guidelines when traveling with or disposing of sharps is necessary for a safe environment.

Understanding Sharps and Their Importance

Given the potential risks associated with improper disposal of sharps, it is important to understand how they should be handled. Sharps are defined as any medical device featuring a sharp point or edge and include needles, syringes, lancets and auto injectors that can puncture the skin when in use for home medical treatments like injections or blood sugar monitoring.

Realizing what kind of items constitute ‘sharps’ equipment plus being aware of their dangers underlines why proper disposing techniques must take place at all times. This includes ensuring these objects aren’t left out where someone could accidentally come into contact with them leading to injury while also protecting our environment from contamination due to unsafe practices occurring outside authorised facilities designated for this purpose only.

Practising safe measures when dealing with sharps such as correctly getting rid off used ones has become necessary not just for an individual’s well-being but preserving natural resources too by avoiding dangerous waste management issues emerging in society today.

Search Phlebotomy Technician Programs

Get information on Phlebotomy Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

Types of Sharps

Sharps such as needles, syringes and lancets are commonly used in home healthcare for administering medicines to patients who have certain medical conditions. Examples include insulin pens and infusion sets which vary in shape and size of the needle along with features like sliding sheaths, hinged caps or retractable needles. Correct disposal is imperative after use of these sharps so that accidental injuries can be prevented.

This requires selection of a suitable container specifically designed for Sharps Disposal. Knowing about various types helps make appropriate choices when selecting an appropriate Sharps Disposal Container before getting rid of them safely by following correct procedure for its purposeful usage.

Risks Associated with Improper Disposal

The consequences of mishandling sharps can be severe for those involved, such as trash and sewage workers, janitors, housekeepers or other members in the household, even children. Not correctly disposing of them can result not only in environmental damage due to polluted drinking water systems and toxins/pathogens being released but also breach federal regulations which could incur hefty fines from $5-70k. It is hence vital to comprehend the risks associated with improper sharps disposal for our own safety as well as that of others plus protecting nature around us too.

Step 1: Selecting the Appropriate Sharps Disposal Container

In order to safely dispose of sharps, choosing an appropriate container is essential. Two main options are available for this purpose: FDA-cleared containers and alternative household containers that can be used instead. It’s important to ensure safe needle disposal as well as proper sharps disposal when using a certified or home container. The right one should always be chosen in order to have secure results while disposing them.

FDA-Cleared Sharps Containers

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have designed sharps containers that are FDA-cleared, offering the safest way to store used needles as well as other sharp items. These containers are manufactured from puncture resistant materials which minimize any risk of accidental needlestick injuries. A secure lid or closure mechanism is implemented for added safety against leakage or spills when handling them.

Using approved FDA-cleared sharps containers helps guard humans and the environment alike by providing an efficient manner in storing/disposing such hazardous objects like those mentioned above – Available sources include pharmacies, medical supply companies healthcare providers & even online stores!

Alternative Household Containers

If no FDA-cleared sharps container is present, a heavy-duty plastic household one may be utilized instead. This should include laundry detergent or bleach bottles that are both leak and puncture resistant while having hazard warnings for proper disposal displayed on them. Remember to ensure the container has a secure lid so there is not any chance of leakage or exposure from the sharps inside it. Conversely, glass containers and soda bottles are an unadvisable choice due to their potential breaking risks.

Step 2: Properly Storing and Filling Sharps Containers

When it comes to sharps disposal, the right selection of a container is just part of what needs to be done, proper storage and filling techniques are also vital for preventing any mishaps. Ensuring correct practices when dealing with these objects guarantees secure disposing of all sharp components.

Safe Storage Practices

It is important to secure and keep sharps containers away from children or pets. To ensure safety, the container should be placed in a visible area where it can easily be accessed yet below eye-level. The container must remain upright during use, as well as when storing sharp containers within educational settings such as schools or daycares, these should stay locked away in an inaccessible space for kids. By following safe practices around storage of sharps, you can minimize any potential risks that come with them and create a more secure environment overall.

Correct Filling Techniques

It is important to ensure proper containment of sharps in a container by not overfilling it and keeping the contents up to 75%. Directly insert used needles, contaminated needles or other sharp objects into the receptacle straight after use. To reduce exposure for needlestick injuries, avoid recapping them. By following these instructions you will help guarantee safety when managing these items.

Step 3: Safely Sealing and Disposing of Filled Sharps Containers

Securing and disposing of a sharps container properly is important for everyone’s safety, including the environment. It’s essential to make sure that all filled containers are sealed securely before disposing in an appropriate manner so as not to cause any harm.

Sealing the Container

To secure a full sharps container, the lid needs to be firmly screwed on and duct tape should then encircle it around. Make sure you also mark the container with today’s date for reference. Doing this will guarantee that no accidental contact can take place when dealing with sharp objects inside of it. The manufacturer’s instructions must always be followed for optimal closure as attempting to remove a needle from its syringe before sealing is not advised due to potential risks associated with exposure injuries in such cases.

Disposal Options

The safe disposal of filled sharps containers is essential for both personal safety and environmental protection. To properly dispose of your container, contact local authorities or healthcare providers to find out the specific options available in your area – this may include public hazardous waste collection sites, drop-off points or mail-back programs. It is important to note that sharps should never be put in regular trash bins.

Step 4: Handling Accidents and Injuries Related to Sharps

It is essential to be mindful of the hazards posed by sharps and how best to respond if an incident occurs. Despite our preventative measures, accidents involving such objects can still take place. To guarantee safety for oneself as well as others in close proximity, it’s important one knows what steps should be taken when these situations arise. Remaining vigilant with regards to potential risks related sharps is crucial so that possible mishaps may hopefully be avoided altogether.

Immediate Actions

If someone suffers a sharp injury, like an accidental needle puncture, quick action must be taken. Bleeding should be encouraged by pressing the area and washing with soap and water. If these items are unavailable at that moment, use hand sanitizers or other alcohol-based solutions instead to cleanse the wound thoroughly. In case of contact involving splashes around nose/mouth/skin, flush them off using plain water.

After performing this immediate treatment it is essential to visit health services for thorough evaluation concerning possible infection transmission risks posed due to such incident circumstances.

Reporting the Incident

It is important to document any sharp objects related injury, such as a needlestick or cut from a contaminated object. Healthcare facilities and organizations often have specific protocols for reporting an incident of this type. Some states may also require Documentation. By recording the event on the OSHA 300 Log—as mandated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—it can not only ensure prompt medical attention but help avoid future occurrences like it. Filing an appropriate report with your employer serves as another key step in preventing sharps injuries moving forward.

Travel Considerations for Sharps Disposal

When transporting sharps, it is essential to use puncture resistant plastic containers for secure packing and disposal. Doing so will ensure the safe handling of sharps even when traveling away from home. To minimize contamination risk or injury due to sharp objects, having a suitable container that can be closed securely can go a long way in maintaining hygiene standards during travel with such items.

Packing and Transporting Sharps

When travelling with sharps, all needles and other items should be placed directly into a suitable container after use. The Transportation Security Administration has made provisions for used containers to accompany passengers in both their carry-on and checked luggage. If an FDA approved disposer is unavailable during the trip, then a heavy duty plastic household item such as bleach or laundry detergent bottle may serve as temporary storage if it is leakproof and puncture resistant.

Disposing of Sharps on the Go

The safe and proper disposal of sharps is essential, both when traveling and at home. It’s important to dispose used needles or other sharps in a dedicated container as soon as possible – if one isn’t available you can temporarily store them in a securely sealed plastic bottle. Don’t forget to check on regional regulations for appropriate ways of disposing such items before embarking on your trip so that the environment remains uncontaminated during travel.


We must take responsibility for protecting ourselves and those around us from the risks associated with improper sharps disposal. To do this, we should be aware of different types of sharps, select proper containers to store them in, fill these containers correctly before properly sealing and disposing filled ones as well as handling any accidents or injuries caused by careless use. By following these steps carefully we can create a safe environment at home or on our travels.

Further Reading

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps involved in disposal of sharps?

When disposing of sharps, the first step is to put them into a robust container with an airtight lid – this should be made out of hard plastic or metal material that won’t easily puncture. Then the vessel must then be inserted into a paper bag for disposal as directed by local regulations.

What are the OSHA regulations regarding disposal of sharps?

Employers must follow the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard in regard to sharps containers and their disposal. These need to be of a red color, or should have been labeled with the universal biohazard symbol so that they are easily identifiable. Containers for disposing contaminated needles and other associated sharps should also always remain within reachable distance from where these objects will be used. Overfilling them is prohibited as well.

What should you do before disposing of needles in sharps containers the medical assistant should?

The medical assistant should be certain to seal the sharps container, correctly label it and examine their local policies on disposal before discarding needles. No bent or broken contaminated needles ought to have been tampered with prior to being put into these containers. This includes avoiding attempts at recapping such needles as well.

What is the best place to dispose of sharps?

The safest way to get rid of sharps is through a specialized container at an authorized collection station, hospital or nursing home. Alternatively, medical facilities such as doctors’ offices and pharmacies, health departments, waste disposal sites like fire stations and police stations can accept these containers for proper disposal too. For those who are looking for extra convenience when it comes to discarding their used sharp items, some businesses will provide the relevant boxes along with return shipping labels after charging a fee.

What types of sharps are used in home healthcare?

In home health settings, lancets, insulin pens, needles, syringes and infusion sets are widely used. These items can be essential for administering treatments such as injections and other specialized care processes at home.