Risks Associated with Incorrect Sharps Waste Disposal

Waste Disposal


The correct disposal of sharps from a hospital environment is essential for keeping patients and clinical staff safe. It should partner with a credible company specializing in the field of infection and injury control. A good company will deploy globally recognized containment systems maximized for sustainability, efficiency, and safety.

Sharps can tear, injure and puncture the skin in humans and animals. They need to be segregated and disposed of in a safe manner. The following are the risks associated with incorrect methods of sharps waste disposal:

  1. Threats to your staff and patients – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that about 62% – 88% of sharp injuries can be stopped using safe medical devices.
  2. Contamination- Sharps have the risks of being contaminated with different micro-organisms that in turn might be contaminated with a blood-borne virus like the Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV) and Hepatitis B and C
  3. Injuries- Sharps might cause injuries through puncture wounds and cuts
  4. Infections- Sharps pose a risk of infections or injuries when they penetrate into the skin

Regulations and their non-compliance

 When it comes to regulations and their non-compliance, this has led to-

  • Fear of HIV, along with other infections that have led several healthcare workers to pursue legal suits and actions for diseases that have been contracted at work
  • Even in cases where diseases or infections have not been transmitted, healthcare workers are suing hospital authorities successfully for compensation for the emotional distress suffered while they wait for their test results.

Increased costs for hospitals and medical establishments

There have been cost overruns, and it has been found that in one study, the cost of the average sharps’ injury has been an annual figure of approximately £19,000. It also has been estimated that NSI’s cost the average trust of the NHS approximately £500,000 per year. This is an average of £127m across England every year.

What are the costs for waste disposal of sharps?

The company and the establishment will mutually agree upon the costs of waste disposal. However, its costs will rise if the waste workload increases and the procedures pertaining to sharps change.

Waste containers to prevent spills

A good company will use waste containers with leak-proof lock seals, preventing spillage and unauthorized access. These containers are eco-friendly and reusable. They reduce the transfer of infections and diseases for everyone on the premises.

Credible companies specializing in sharps waste disposal will have containers fitted with a gravity-sensitive tray for safety. When the contents inside the container reach their full capacity, this safety tray swings into an upright position to stop the contents’ overflow. This reduces injuries from the protruding sharps inside.

Hospitals and healthcare centers should always choose a credible and experienced company for their waste disposal management processes. They must ensure the company has partnerships with other esteemed establishments, so their credentials must be carefully verified before hiring them for the job.

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