Needles: Use and Disposal
Needles used in laboratories are a significant liability and threat to safety. These needles may have hazardous substances on/in them such as toxic chemicals or bio-hazardous substances such as viruses or bacteria. Use of needles should be limited due to the safety concerns associated with the ease at which a needle could poke the skin and distribute hazardous substances directly into the bloodstream.
Needles, once uncapped, should NEVER be recapped as this in the most common cause of needle sticks.
Needles and used syringes should be disposed of, as a unit, in an appropriate, labeled waste container. These waste containers should be puncture resistant and located near needle usage areas and are available commercially. If bio-hazardous materials were used with any needles in a waste container, that waste container must be autoclaved prior to landfill disposal.
At no time should any needle, razor blade or similarly sharp item be placed in any Glass Disposal boxes. The plastic bag/cardboard combination in those containers is easily penetrated by needles and can pose a serious hazard to workers.
If a needle stick should occur, appropriate first aid should be administered based on the suspected substance that needle was in contact with. If this information is unknown, it should be treated as serious and appropriate action taken to ensure the victims health.
All needle sticks must be reported to the Chemical Hygiene Officer, no matter how minor or severe.