Sharp and Piercing Object Disposal

Special care and caution must be exercised by all research, health and animal care personnel in the use and disposal of sharps. Needlesticks or cuts from contaminated sharps present a significant occupational health risk because such injuries may directly introduce pathogens, chemicals or radioactive materials into the body. Sharps include needles, syringes, razor blades, slides, scalpels, pipettes, broken plastic or glassware, and other devices capable of cutting or piercing the skin (micropipettes, pipette tips). The following practices must be observed when handling and disposing of these items.

  1. Syringes and syringes without needle attached will all go into a sharps container.
  2. Micropipettes, pipette tips and Pasteur pipettes will go into the appropriate sharps container (green for chemical contaminated sharps or red for infectious contaminated sharps).
  3. Large pipettes will go into the original cardboard or fiberboard box after the original container has been lined with plastic (to contain any liquid).
  4. Clean pipettes, micropipettes, pipette tips or Pasteur pipettes can be placed in glass box (cardboard box). This does not apply to syringes or syringes without needles attached.

Each of the above classes of sharps will need to be further segregated according to their hazard (i.e. biological, radioactive, chemical). Chemically contaminated materials must be kept together and the waste label must show the type of residual chemical left in the sharp. This is disposed of through the chemical waste program. Biological or biohazardous waste must be disposed of through the infectious waste program. Radioactive contaminated sharps must be disposed of through the radiation program. For any materials that contain more than one hazard, call the Department of Environmental Health & Safety for disposal information.

Questions concerning radioactive waste should be emailed to William Fendt, chemical waste questions should be emailed to Brian Miani, and infectious/biological waste questions should be emailed to EHS or call 831-8475.