Ask the expert: Roaming with contaminated sharps

By: September 13th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: For a typical doctor’s office with treatment rooms, we have to leave the treatment room with the sharp to get to the sharps container. Is that a no-no?

A: Having to leave the room with a contaminated sharp in hand would be an OSHA violation unless you could show no feasible alternative.

The Contaminated Sharps Discarding and Containment section, 1910.1030(d)(4)(iii)(A), of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard says: “Contaminated sharps shall be discarded immediately or as soon as feasible in containers that are…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…”

Last year, the average OSHA fine to medical practices for this type of violation was just over $1,000.

For more on OSHA fines in medical practices see the Medical Environment Update post, “Come and get it: Fresh data on OSHA violations.”

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