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Are pipettes considered sharps?

Here’s something you won’t find in the OSHA rulebook.

Although pipette tips aren’t traditionally considered sharps, they do pose a threat to break through a bag exposing an employee. So what’s the solution?According to DOT standard 49 CFR 173.134(6) [1], pipette tips do not necessarily need to be disposed of in a sharps container. According to the regulation, “sharps includes needles, syringes, scalpels, broken glass, culture slides, culture dishes, broken capillary tubes, broken rigid plastic, and exposed ends of dental wires.”

With that interpretation only broken glass or plastic needs to be treated as a sharp. Without the specificity of a pipette standard, the best solution is to approach your facilities safety committee to come up your own policy and procedure for dealing with this type of waste.

How do you dispose of pipette tips? Let us know in the “Comments” section below.