Ask the expert: Sharps disposal container and exam rooms

By: February 11th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Do sharps disposal containers have to be in each individual exam room or can we have them in the nurses’ station, for a private practice?

A: Being in a private practice has no bearing on Bloodborne Pathogen standard compliance. You are subject to the same rules as healthcare centers, nursing care facilities etc. The standard calls for sharps disposal containers to be “Easily accessible to personnel and located as close as is feasible to the immediate area where sharps are used or can be reasonably anticipated to be found.”

To me that means in the exam room. I don’t think you could justify a nurses’ station as being in the immediate area.

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By suzanne reilly,RDH on February 11th, 2011 at 11:05 am

in a dental office, does each operatory have to have a sink with running water or is a wall mounted alcohol-hand-sanitizer satisfactory?

I agree that containers must be in each room. If this is a difficult sell to your practice manager, you need to point out that after the inital installation, costs are about the same as they currently run. The contaienrs fill less ofter so replacement containers and biohazard disposal shouldnot cost any more. If you consider the impact of even working up one BBP exposure and/or an OSHA fine, this justifies the cost many times over. They need to understand that spending a few dollars now will save many more in the future.

Point of use disposal is required to prevent needlestick injury. A sharps container is required for each room that sharps are used in 🙂

By Antony Shannon on February 17th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Point of Use disposal is an effective way of reducing sharps injuries. Having them in a centrral area causes staff to carry them to the point, hence increasing the risk to not only themselves but their colleagues and any other people in the area at the time.
The cost associated with placing them in each room for ease of access far outweighs the costs of an injury.

By Irene Hogetvedt on March 31st, 2011 at 11:23 am

Would you consider a squirt bottle with normal saline at each patient care area for use as an eye wash followed by a thorough eye wash in the ER and examination as adequate?


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