The All Points Blog

14 August 2017

Yay or Nay: Sharps containers for employees who self-inject medications?

As an employer, here’s what you need to know.

Whether your team consists of 10 or 10,000, if you have employees, the proper disposal of sharps (needles, syringes, lancets and any other sharp items used to inject medication) is something to be concerned about. And if you’re thinking this issue only affects those in the healthcare field, you may be surprised to learn that it’s something that every business owner should be aware of. The fact is, many organizations have staff members who have conditions that require them to use sharps to inject medication while they’re at work. Illnesses like diabetes, various allergies, hepatitis, arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and others are often managed with injectable medications. Read on to learn how to address this in your workplace.

What’s required by law?

If you own a business, you’re likely well-versed in OSHA regulations and other employee/employer compliance requirements that are in place to ensure you are providing a safe workplace for yourself and your team. And although non-healthcare organizations are not required by law or the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) to provide a sharps container for staff members who have specific health needs, as an employer, it is your responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations or to allow these employees to bring their own sharps disposal containers.

The dangers of sharps in the workplace

Protecting your employees from the dangers of discarded needles, syringes and other sharps is crucial and something that should be addressed when creating safety procedures for your organization. If team members who are using sharps are forced to throw their used needles into the regular trash, the risk of an accidental puncture is greatly increased, especially if those sharps are being discarded into the restroom garbage receptacles or other trash containers in common areas. The danger of exposure to numerous conditions, including hepatitis B or C, HIV and others, is a growing concern as more and more people are self-injecting.

Protecting your team

Proactive employers who opt to accommodate the needs of their team members that
self-inject medications can insist that these team members bring their own containers or install compliant sharps containers in their workplace. This step greatly reduces the risk of injury which also eliminates the risk of any liability for accidents at the workplace.

According to statistics, more than 8 million people in the United States use sharps to treat their medical conditions, so it’s not surprising that the proper management of these sharps is a concern to many employers. Installing compliant sharps containers and working with a medical waste service provider is an easy and convenient way to protect your team.

All Points Medical Waste offers a myriad of medical waste services, including installing compliant sharps containers and providing regular pick ups based on your facility’s specific needs. We would be happy to work with you to create a customized solution tailored to your organization. Give us a call today to find our more information or to get a quote.