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Sharps Containers

Sharps containers hold discarded sharp medical objects. These containers are subject to regulations as sharps pose potential risks to healthcare employees. OSHA has firm standards on the disposal of sharps containers, and the FDA has issued recommendations for sharps containers, as well. 


The safe disposal of potentially hazardous medical waste is crucial in any healthcare setting. Medical facilities must follow OSHA regulations regarding sharps containers. We will go over standards, definitions, and disposal procedures for sharps containers. 

sharps containers

About Sharps

Sharps consist of any medical object with a pointed edge that can puncture the skin and draw blood. This makes them a hazard in healthcare facilities. 

Some examples of sharps in the medical field include:

  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Auto-injectors
  • Lancets (fingerstick devices) 


Medical offices will often use sharps for lab testing and assessing patient vitals. Any object that can cut through the skin in any way is considered a “sharp” and must go in an approved sharps container.  Sharps containers must be placed in a secure, labeled room for disposal. Medical waste management companies, like DMI Solutions, come in and safely dispose of sharps and containers. 


About Sharps Containers

Almost everyone has seen a sharps container in a medical office before. There are regulations that sharps containers must meet in order to be used safely. So, what are they made of? 

Sharps containers are hard plastic bins designated for the storage of used sharp medical objects. Sharps containers contain a secure lid that is resistant to puncture. All sharps containers must have a clear warning label. 

Sharp containers can be of different sizes to accommodate varying volumes of sharp disposal. There are also different types of secure locks on sharps containers. Some sharps containers have a hinge lock that closes off permanently for final disposal. Others have a slot for sharps disposal that allows the container to hold larger sharp materials. 

All sharps containers must be puncture-proof. During medical waste disposal, sharps containers can still pose a risk to employees. Unsafe sharps containers can lead to injuries, bloodborne transmissions, and OSHA violations. It is important to use sharps containers that are FDA-approved. 


General Safety Guidelines for Sharps Containers 

There are a few general safety tips to keep in mind when it comes to sharps containers. Your facility likely has policies in place for sharps containers, but it is important to make sure they are OSHA-compliant and safe in general. 


General safety guidelines for sharps containers:


  • -Keep out of reach of children
  • -Keep away from areas with lots of foot traffic
  • -Secure container with a mounting bracket on a wall
  • -Seal the locking caps before disposal
  • -Store used containers in a locked, labeled room for disposal
  • -Remain in compliance with local laws on disposal


If you follow these safety guidelines for sharps containers, injuries and accidents become far less likely. You will also remain in compliance with OSHA regulations. 


Using Sharps Containers

There is a step-by-step procedure to dispose of sharps in a sharps container. The FDA has issued a recommendation for a two-step disposal process. 

First, place any used sharp object directly into a sharps container. Do not leave any sharp objects outside of the sharps container. Do not place the cap back on needles or other sharps. Doing so can increase the chance of misuse or punctures from contaminated sharps. Make sure that the sharps container is secure and out of reach of children. 

Then, once the sharps container is ready for disposal, make sure to follow your local guidelines on medical waste disposal. It is important to stop filling sharps containers at ¾ of their capacity to reduce the likelihood of a medical waste disposal employee getting punctured by sharps.  


Types of Sharps Containers

There are different types of sharps containers. Some are one-time-use containers, while others are reusable. Still, others can be sent back to the manufacturer for sterilization and reuse in the future. 

Reusable sharps containers must be handled within strict guidelines for disposal and cannot post any risk to servicing employees. It is important to prevent contamination of other surfaces when disposing of sharps from a reusable sharps container. 


How to Dispose of a Sharps Container

OSHA has regulations regarding medical waste, including sharps containers. Proper disposal procedures are necessary to ensure a safe, healthy workplace. This also affects patient safety in the areas of the sharps containers. 

OSHA requires that sharps containers be disposed of when they are ¾ full, which applies to small sharps containers. Once sharps containers are ready for disposal, they should be placed separately from any unused medical equipment. A medical waste management company will send trained staff to collect all of the used containers. This is the type of OSHA-compliant medical waste removal we do at DMI Solutions.

Biohazard sharps containers that have materials with blood, bodily fluids, and human waste require stricter regulations. These sharps containers must be disposed of according to state laws. In most states, the Department of Transportation enacts these regulations. 


DMI Solutions: Effective Medical Waste Management

At DMI Solutions, we can handle the disposal of your sharps containers. Our staff is thoroughly trained on OSHA compliance and safety regulations, and we will remove the medical waste from your facility while ensuring there are no contamination or safety problems. No more frantically searching “sharps container disposal near me.” When you hire DMI Solutions to dispose of your facility’s medical waste, you can have peace of mind.

Visit our Services page to see how we can partner with you for your facility’s healthcare waste.