Sharp Disposal: Best Way to Get Rid of Used Needles
None of the modern medical institutions can do without syringes and needles. They are convenient and functional, but they can become potentially dangerous after contact with blood and other human biomaterials. They cause the emergence and growth of diseases leading to disability or mortality and also pose a danger to humans and the environment. That is why it is necessary to dispose of medical waste in a proper way.
5 kinds of sharps for disposal purposes
According to the requirements of regulatory documents, medical waste is divided into 5 hazard classes:
- A – non-hazardous;
- B – dangerous (risky);
- B – extremely dangerous;
- G – close to industrial;
- D – radioactive.
Class B includes materials and tools in contact with biological fluids of the patient. Waste bags of yellow color with the corresponding marking are used for waste collection. The class of extremely hazardous wastes is made up of instruments and materials in contact with patients who are infected with especially dangerous diseases.
Class B medical waste bags are red. Due to the specifics of their use, disposable syringes are classified as a waste of class B. They are disposed of in compliance with the technologies and precautions provided for working with a waste of the corresponding hazard class.
Who needs sharp disposal?
The service for the disposal of needles and syringes is used by:
- wellness centers;
- sanatoriums and dispensaries;
- other organizations, including veterinary clinics.
How to dispose of used or unwanted needles?
All work on the disposal and destruction of raw materials can be carried out exclusively by organizations that have received the appropriate license from local sanitary control authorities. In this case, the company must have all the necessary equipment and have a staff of qualified employees.
The work is carried out in several stages:
- the collection of material, while disassembling the syringes with the help of needle cutters and needle pullers. It is not allowed to perform this operation manually;
- disinfection in case of work with less hazardous material using autoclaving;
- packaging in sealed containers marked in accordance with the hazard class (all containers must have sufficient strength and heat resistance, personnel involved in the collection of raw materials must have special protective clothing and rubber gloves);
- export and transportation to the place of destruction;
- direct disposal of syringes.
To destroy the neutralized material, they use crushers and mills that convert the raw materials into a homogeneous mass of fine fractions.
There are several ways to process hazardous medical raw materials:
- burial at a special landfill equipped with anti-filter screens;
- warehousing and storage in specially designated places (only after mandatory disinfection);
- burning in various ways.
Burning sharps in special incinerator furnaces and plasma plants is the safest method. Also, needles are disposed of through an oxygen-free decomposition of raw materials at extremely high temperatures.
In conclusion, we’d like to draw our attention to 8 simple rules for preventing injuries from sharp objects:
- Do not throw used needles into the trash can;
- Do not store sharps containers in a place accessible to children;
- Do not throw used sharp objects into the toilet;
- Do not use glass and plastic bottles, cardboard boxes or tin cans to make containers;
- There is no need to fill the container to the top – when it is full by two thirds, it is time to throw it away;
- Do not wait. Place your sharp objects in a container immediately after use;
- Do not bend or break the needle;
- Do not use other people’s needles.
Category: Health and Wellness
Tags: healthcare, medications, Needle disposal, Sharps waste