Ask the expert: Sharps disposal containers on carts

By: June 6th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Are there compliance issues with placing a sharps disposal container on top of a mobile blood collection cart? The cart top location is accessible but the container is unsteady when in motion or entering/exiting elevators en route.

A: Not all sharps disposal containers are appropriate for use on carts, especially if the container’s doors or closings do not guard against accidental spillage as OSHA makes clear in the interpretation letter “The applicability of OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standards to the use of sharps containers on hospital crash carts”:

…the selection of a [sharps] container should be based on a site-specific hazard analysis. One important criterion in the selection of sharps containers is the assessment of containers that accommodate transport or mobility needs.

The letter also addresses the requirement to secure the container to the cart:

Containers located on movable carts should be secured with brackets or other positioning mechanism (s) to minimize the likelihood of the container tipping or becoming overturned.

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This is actually easy to do as most vendors have a basin that is weighted that holds the container. The only other caveat is to not leave the cart at the bedside if you need to leave the area. The phlebotomists need to be educated that the cart alwyas is with them. I have worked in facilities with behavioural health, correctional care areas and EDs that were prone to see patients with substance abuse issues throughout the day. So, this is the other part of the use of carts as numerous sharps- clean and contaminated- are on them.

By Jeannette Love on September 5th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

How do you clean a sharps container on cart?


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