We have become used to hearing about medical emergencies, even on a global scale. We hear about the demands on the health services because of highly contagious diseases. We hear about the opioid crisis and the countless lives being ruined because of it. We hear about the prevalence of illegal drugs being sold on the streets and the dangers this poses for entire communities. What we don’t always hear about is the dangers posed by syringes. Occasionally we will hear shocking reports of syringes left in parks on playground equipment, purposefully left to harm a child or pass on a lifelong or life threatening disease. Or maybe we have heard of them left under railings for the same purpose. These reports leave us wondering who could do such a thing. Thankfully, authorities in each area are looking for ways to combat this and are trying to bring in stricter measures and harsher punishments against such things. While we welcome this, there are other areas where sharps are used and need to be disposed of correctly. In hospitals and medical facilities, sharps container disposal is taken very seriously to keep the risk of harm to any member of staff, and especially the public, to an absolute minimum.
It is taken so seriously that there are a number of laws and regulations that need to be followed regarding sharps disposal. For starters, there are specific sharps container disposal units to keep sharps separate from any other types of waste. They are also to be collected by waste collectors who follow the governments strict guidelines. The containers need to be easily accessible by all staff but placed out of reach of members of the public, particularly children. They also need to be emptied regularly and are not allowed to fill up past a certain point. This is to avoid anyone accidentally being pricked by a used syringe already in the container as they dispose of a syringe. There must always be instructions regarding the container in clear view for anyone who will be using syringes. All staff should regularly receive training and be aware of the proper procedures and the risks involved.
One thing to bear in mind is that the hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, vets, or any other medical facility, are responsible for the sharps until they are completely destroyed. So when picking a waste disposal company, you need to make sure they are reputable and experienced so you can have confidence that there is no risk to the public and there will be no legal recourse for you.