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Sharps Container Disposal Regulations: How They've Changed & What They Mean For You

Sharps Container Disposal

sharp container

There are so many different types of waste management these days, all with their own regulations, that for smaller businesses it can be a real challenge to keep track of them all. Of course, disposal of “sharps” is arguably the most crucial of all. 

Whether you’re talking about medical instruments such as scalpels and syringes, or general sharp objects such as broken glass or old tools, sharps provide a significant risk to both the general public and local wildlife. Not only do they pose a risk of injury but they can even cause infection. Some medical implements may even contain medication or bodily fluids.

Organisations from hospitals and veterinary surgeries to tattooists and aesthetic clinics need to get rid of sharps safely, and sharps disposal legislation provides the guidelines that allow companies to know what to do with such dangerous waste.

So what exactly do these sharps bin regulations say?

Let’s take a look:

Sharps Container Disposal Regulations

Sharps Container Disposal

Sharps disposal procedure dictates that all sharps be disposed of using safe, colour coded pharmaceutical waste bins, using the following format:

  • Purple lid is for sharps that may be contaminated with cytotoxic or cytostatic substances
  • Orange lid is for sharps that haven’t been contaminated with medication
  • Yellow lid is for any other sharps including those contaminated with medication

Wall-mounted lockable sharps units also provide extra security in situations or businesses when it is deemed necessary.

Of course, the sharps disposal regulations aren’t just about putting sharps in the right coloured bins. Companies are also expected to:

  • Keep sharps bins in a safe place and away from children
  • Minimise use of sharps and only use when necessary
  • Use safety features when possible such as stanley knives with plastic covers
  • Discard sharps immediately after use
  • Educate all staff of sharps disposal policy and provide clear instructions and rules

What Happens When Sharps Disposal Guidelines Aren’t Followed?

sharps disposal

Since health and safety law is a criminal issue focused on the safety of the general public, failing to follow the appropriate sharps container regulations is a serious offence and will result in fines at the very least. Some companies have even been shut down for failing to properly dispose of hazardous waste. A UK hospital trust was fined £20,000 in 2010 due to an incident related to sharps. No matter how big your business is, that’s a significant amount of money to any operation.

In order to keep up to date with what exactly is expected from you, it’s best to go directly to government legislation sources. It’s also worth noting how sharps disposal regulations in the UK have developed over time and where they might be going next in the constant journey towards safer sharps regulations. You can quite easily get a picture of this by checking some of the recent changes to legislation.

Two ideal sources for that include:

Sharps Regulations 2013

Sharps Regulations 2015

Once you are up to date on your requirements, the next step is to appoint a staff member to oversee and be responsible for all sharps disposal including educating other employees and ensuring policy is followed.

Of course, many businesses find it easier to outsource this to people experienced with the matter, and that’s where we come in:

phs Sharps Disposal Services

At phs, we are the UK’s leading sharps disposal experts with over 50 years of experience leading the nation’s specialist waste disposal solutions.

We have operations centres and teams in every city and town in the country, meaning we’re your local experts, no matter where you are. This also makes us the premier service provider for chain-businesses with properties around the nation.

Our technicians are highly trained and are able to arrive when you need them and work to any schedule. They are even able to enter your building, manage all sharps disposal related tasks and leave with no need for oversight or interruptions to other daily tasks.

To learn more, contact us now and see how we can handle your sharps disposal requirements, leaving you with peace of mind and the ability to focus on the aspects of your business that really matter!

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