Published date: 02 August 2023

Safe use and disposal of sharps and needlesticks

Injuries from sharps such as needlesticks are a well known risk in healthcare. That's why we're asking for customers' help in reducing the level of risk to all colleagues and patients by safely disposing of sharps in the appropriate bins.

Sharps contaminated with an infected person's blood can transmit more than 20 diseases, including Hepatitis B, C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Although the risk of contracting a disease is low, these injuries can cause significant anxiety to colleagues who receive them.

How could an NHSPS colleague get injured?

Our NHSPS colleagues play an important role in making sure clinical environments are well maintained, clean and tidy. This is often where they come across sharps that have been incorrectly disposed of, either in general waste bags, on the floor next to bins or in toilet areas.

Likewise, there’s a risk to clinical staff should they come across a sharps that is lying around or incorrectly disposed of.

Our duty of care

We have a duty to ensure we do everything we can to protect our NHSPS colleagues health and safety. This is where we need our customers' help to use and dispose of sharps and needlesticks safely and correctly.

Customer responsibilities

Clinical healthcare provides should already be aware of their duties under the Health and Safety (Sharps Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013, particularly to ensure the safe disposal of sharps. We're asking customers to please:

  • Provide clearly marked and secure sharps disposal containers placed close to the areas where medical sharps are being used.
  • Consider providing secure disposal containers in non-clinical

What happens if an NHSPS colleague gets injured?

If one of our NHSPS colleagues is injured by an incorrectly disposed sharp or finds regular evidence of incorrectly disposed sharps, we will formally ask customers to investigate the circumstances.

We will ask them to provide a response within 10 working days of the date of the request to confirm what actions you intend to take to prevent a recurrence.

Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2023

It is important to note, certain sharps injuries are reportable to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (“RIDDOR”).

If this is required by NHSPS due to a colleague injury, full details of the incident will be disclosed to the Enforcing Authority.

Want more information?

If you’d like to discuss the safe disposals of sharps, please get in touch with your local NHSPS contact or our Customer Service Centre.

Phone: 0808 196 2045