Sharps are commonly used in homes, healthcare, and businesses across Colorado. They can be used for services such as tattooing and acupuncture or for treating medical conditions in humans and animals. Safe handling and disposal of sharps prevent the spread of disease and needlestick injuries.
Used needles, lancets, syringes, and other sharps fall into the category of regulated medical waste. Regulated waste is hazardous, potentially infectious, and/or items that could penetrate the skin. These materials must be handled properly to keep the community safe.
Regulations for sharps are enforced by state laws, which are guided by a number of resources including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the EPA, FDA, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Colorado has strict medical waste regulations to protect the environment and health of its residents.
Specific laws pertaining to solid waste regulations can be found in Colorado’s Code of Regulations, 6 CCR 1007-2 and 6 CCR 1007-3. Translating the codes can be complicated and confusing. Working with an experienced medical waste disposal company will help you understand the regulations and maintain compliance.
We will break down the best practices for handling sharps in Colorado below, please contact us to connect with providers that can assist you further.
Sharps Handling – Best Practices
The CDC estimates that 22 percent of needlestick injuries occur due to the improper disposal of sharps. Proper sharps management can be easily practiced, reducing the risk of injury or exposure from used needles.
When using needles at home, it is important to be aware of proper sharps handling to protect anyone that may come into contact with your sharps after use. Nearly a quarter of needlestick incidents occur downstream of the user, specifically risking the health of janitorial and waste workers. Needles that have been thrown in the trash or flushed down a drain are not protected and can easily harm others.
Steps for Safe Sharps Disposal:
- Immediately place used sharps into an FDA-approved sharps disposal container or remove needles with an FDA-approved needle clipper. Approved containers are made of durable plastic, are leak-resistant, and sealable with a puncture-resistant lid.
- Make sure your containers are clearly labelled to warn of hazardous waste inside.
- Your containers should remain upright and stable during use and be stored out of the reach of children and animals.
- When your containers are three-quarters full, follow your community guidelines for proper disposal methods. Do not overfill containers, flush, or toss needles into the trash. Sharps collection sites, mail-back programs, and pick-up services may be available in your area.
Healthcare professionals must have annual training on OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to minimize risk while handling infectious materials. In addition to training, proper sharps management will reduce injury and exposure when working with sharps.
Steps for Proper Sharps Management:
- Place an FDA-approved sharps container in a visible location, just below eye level. Workers should be able to easily determine if the container is full to avoid overfilling.
- Containers should include a closure mechanism that prevents injury to the hand during use. It should be resistant to manual opening.
- At least one sharps container should be provided at each worksite where sharps are predictably generated and used.
Workers handling sharps must use caution and pay attention while using sharps. Always maintain visual contact with the sharps and be aware of others in the immediate area. Sharps should only be transported in a closed container. Make sure your containers are not overfilled, replace when they are full, and make sure they are stored in a secure area.
Follow local medical waste disposal guidelines and your facility’s policies and procedures for disposal.
Receive Free Quotes on Sharps Disposal Services in Colorado Today
Medical Waste Pros partners with medical waste disposal companies across Colorado. Our providers are knowledgeable in the Colorado regulations to keep you in compliance and protect the health of Coloradans. Give us a call at (888) 755-6370 or fill out the form to connect with disposal companies in your area and receive free quotes on sharps disposal services.