Sharps are those instruments when intact or broken have the ability to, cut, scratch or pierce the skin or breach mucus membranes. Used or infectious sharps are sharps that have been in contact with infectious agents or that have been used in animal or human patient care or treatment.
Sharps used or not must be handled with special precautions and disposed in an approved sharps container. Sharps containers must be rigid, tightly lidded and puncture resistant. Disposal of sharps in non-approved waste containers or in the regular trash creates a serious hazard to housekeeping employees. Laboratory personnel must never remove any item placed in the sharps container.
The sharps definition includes, but is not limited to, the following "SHARPS" items.
- Hypodermic needles
- Syringes (plastic, glass or metal) to which a needle can be attached, with or without the needle
- Broken glass that has been in contact with pathogenic organisms
- Broken or unbroken glass or rigid plastic ware
- Needles with attached tubing
- Suture needles
- Scalpel blades
- Blood vials
- Glass or plastic Pasteur pipettes
- Glass capillary tubes
- Microtome blades
- Dental scalers
- Razor blades
- Culture dish
- Cover slips
- Sharp metal
- Wood-stemmed cotton swabs and applicator sticks
- Pipette tips
- Centrifuge tubes
For additional information on sharps, please refer to the University’s Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan.