Selection, evaluation and use of sharps container (Serialization 1)


The occupational safety and health movement in the 1970s created the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. The agency is responsible for identifying the causes of work-related diseases and injuries, assessing the risks of new technologies and implementing work practices. Discover ways to control risks and introduce occupational safety and health standards.

Workers in health care and other related fields face great risks due to occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens (including hepatitis B and C virus and human immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS). The main way to come into contact with blood-carrying pathogens is skin damage (the skin is punctured by needles or other sharp objects) due to needle stick injuries. In the United States, about 800,000 needlestick injuries occur in hospitals every year, and an accident occurs every ten seconds on average. Statistics show that many accidents occur after sharp objects (needles or sharp objects) are used; and according to reports, one-third of sharp object accidents occur during processing.

As part of the overall needlestick prevention plan, this document proposes a comprehensive framework for selecting sharps boxes and evaluating their effectiveness. The consistent and correct use of a sturdy sharps case in a healthcare environment has been shown to reduce the occurrence of needlestick injuries. This document reviewed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards for blood carrying pathogens and introduced specific risk analysis for containers. This document establishes standards and provides tools for evaluating the performance of sharps container (sharp box).

A single container model will not meet the processing capacity requirements of each device, but this document establishes the basis for choosing a sharps box, which will reduce the risk of skin damage by sharps. Every day, thousands of dedicated workers in healthcare and related fields risk their own health to protect and improve the health of others. We need to work together to ensure that they work in a safe and healthy environment. This document is valuable and is an important part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce injury and disease for healthcare workers.



Occupational transmission of human immunodeficiency syndromes hepatitis B and C has been thoroughly documented. After a needlestick injury, the probability of contracting HIV is 0.3%, hepatitis B is 6% to 30%, and hepatitis C is 5% to 10%. The adoption of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s blood-borne pathogen standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) has increased people’s compliance and awareness of prevention strategies. A single harps container (sharp box) cannot meet the processing capacity needs of all healthcare institutions or an entire hospital. The choice of container should be based on a wide range of characteristic risk analysis.

The safety standards of the sharps container (sharp box) are divided into four areas. First of all, the container should remain effective throughout its use. Under normal environmental conditions, the container should be durable, leak-proof and anti-perforation. Second, the container should be usable for workers who use maintenance or disposal of medical sharps waste. This standard includes sufficient data, adequate container volume and safe use of personal containers for disposal. Another important factor is that the container can be conveniently placed and carried in the work space. Third, the container needs to be visible to the workers who use them. The volume scale and warning label on the container are very important visual standards. Fourth, the container design should be consistent with the user, utility, and environment. Although engineering controls like needleless IV systems and safety needles can reduce accidents, the reasonable selection and use of sharps boxes is still important. Protection strategies include implementing engineering controls, using personal protective equipment, and training employees including occupational health care experts and staff.

To be continued...