Healthcare professionals must follow specific guidelines for the safe disposal of used needles and current practice includes the use of Sharps Bins. The lack of a decline in the number of reported sharps injuries over time shows that this approach is ineffective, as needles account for 87% of sharps injuries.
While needle stick injuries impact the lives of healthcare workers, they also add up to more costs for the employer. Current practice is to use general sharps containers but due to the open nature of sharps bins, non-sharps waste is also deposited. This leads to sharps bins becoming ‘general bins’ for tissues, plastics, and other medical items. Open sharps bins are not practical because they can allow fingers into the container where sharps risks remain.
An improved solution is to use a dedicated, safe needle disposal system where the risk of injury stops at the source. A dedicated safe needle disposal system also offers a significant cost-saving to the employer.
As the cause of a needle stick injury is the needle and not the syringe, removing the needle at the source eliminates risk and optimises container space. The disposal of the syringe can be via non-sharp clinical waste streams, as there is no sharps risk. Dedicated safe needle disposal systems can also store a greater volume of sharps waste and reduce incineration costs.