What exactly is a “sharp” and why be concerned?
Examples of sharps found in research laboratories are hypodermic needles, scalpel blades, razor blades and broken glass.
Injuries involving sharps can create wounds with severity ranging from minor to major. Although the concern with major injuries is obvious (i.e., amputation, severance of tendons, large loss of blood), it is important to realize that even minor injuries result in a break in the skin. This allows the potential for known and unknown infectious agents to enter the wound site. Here again, the consequences can vary from no infection, infection and no disease, to significant disease for the individual.
Labs should minimize the use and handling of syringe and needles, as well as make efforts to restrict the use of these sharps to procedures in which there are no alternative devices. Sharps injuries frequently occur because of improper handling, improper recapping, and improper disposal of needles and other sharps.
Additionally, users of hypodermic syringes and needles must comply with applicable New York State Department of Health regulations, and users are responsible for appropriate certification, procurement, storage, distribution, and appropriate disposal.
Find below guidance materials for safe handling of sharps and also for compliance with NYS DOH regulations.