The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 385,000 Health Care workers are exposed to blood and body fluids through acute and skin injuries each year. There are 600,000 needle stick injuries (NSIs) and only half of these ever get reported.
Perform the Candy Test
The container you use for your sharps should be intuitive enough to prevent a child from reaching in to retrieve a piece of candy. Label it clearly as hazardous to make it perfectly clear that no one should be near it.
Performing the candy test is a great way to prevent injuries in people of all ages. The candy test is simply that a child, who has lost a piece of candy, would not be able to retrieve it from your sharps container.
If the container you own does not pass this test, it’s time to get yourself a new one., immediately.
Many children, and adults, have dug into the sharps container after accidentally dropping something in there. The results have ranged from mildly painful to severe injuries. Imagine the hand of a toddler as they search for a piece of lost candy or any object within a sharps container… not a pretty picture.
Choose your Sharps Container Carefully
Your sharps container is filled with syringes, lancets, auto-injectors, and needles or needle connectors of all types. Posting a hazardous symbol on your container is a first step, but many containers already come with these labels, pre-attached.
Furthermore make sure that your sharps container is:
- Instantly recognizable as being dangerous. Some FDA approved sharps disposable containers tend to be translucent – allowing you to see all the dangerous objects clearly.
- Is placed away from the trash bin to avoid any confusion
- Has monitors that keep fingers from entering openings.
- Is produced using sturdy materials that won’t allow the sharps to protrude outside.
Empty Sharps Containers when they’re at 3/4th Capacity
Don’t let the sharps container overflow. Empty them following the proper guidelines to avoid injury to yourself and others. Check with your local authorities to get their instructions on how to get rid of your sharps, safely.
Highlight Serious Injuries
Healthcare workers often downplay their injuries because they take it on as badges of honor. While the courage and bravery is admirable, it also doesn’t help prevent future injuries with others. Spread awareness of injuries that may have happened during meetings. Highlight the need for practicing safety and wearing the correct PPE at all times to avoid sharps related injuries.
There are horror stories galore when it comes to sharps, so take safety seriously.