A sharps box is an approved, yellow container used to dispose of all used needles, syringes, lancets (used with finger-pricking devices) and clippers.

Injuries from needles and sharps lead to the highest cause of occupational exposure to blood borne infections. Used needles carry blood-borne viruses that may be passed on to other people, such as: HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

A sharps box must …

  • Be securely out of sight and reach of other people who may be present.
  • Kept in the car boot if workers are transporting sharps by car.
  • Be replaced according to local, agreed arrangements for your area.
  • MUST NOT be filled past the ‘full’ line marked on the bin.

When handling sharps do not …

Handle sharps more than is essential.

Recap or put protective covering back on needles.

Bend or break needles.

Separate needles or syringes before disposal

If you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle, follow this first aid advice immediately:

  • Encourage the wound to bleed, ideally by holding it under running water.
  • Wash the wound using running water and plenty of soap.
  • Do Not scrub the wound while you are washing it.
  • Do not suck the wound.
  • Dry the wound and cover it with a waterproof plaster or dressing.

Get urgent medical advice. Contact your manager if you injure yourself at work or go to the nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. Be aware of and follow your local policies and procedures.

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