SHARPS HANDLING AND DISPOSAL PROCEDURES

Bio Safety Update web

Definition of sharps: Needles, syringes, broken glass, glass slides, razors, scalpels, knives, Pasteur pipettes, or any other object with a sharp edge.

Sharps Hazards:  There is very real potential to cause a needlestick or cut resulting in infection with research agents, or to generate aerosols while using sharps.   Aerosols can be produced by:

  • forcing material through a needle causing a spray
  • removing a needle from a serum vial pressurized by injecting more air than the volume withdrawn
  • cutting or shearing a needle.  Do not cut, shear or bend any needle. Sharps containers with cutters are illegal.

Re-sheathing a needle:  This is very strongly discouraged.  If you must re-sheath, use a one-handed procedure like the one shown, keeping the other hand completely away from the needle:

Resheating Needle150

Safe Sharps:

Information about safe sharps alternatives (including needles, lancets, scalpels, capillary tubes, and more) is available from a Biosafety Officer at 476-1300.   Safe sharps must be disposed of in sharps containers. 

Sharps Disposal:

  • Dispose of all sharps immediately after use, and only in a sharps container.
  • Sharps containers may be purchased from scientific supply companies.
  • Sharps containers must be rigid, puncture-proof, and have lids that seal securely.
  • If sharps are contaminated with hazardous chemicals or radioactivity, dispose of them in a separate sharps container with a radioactive or chemical waste tag as appropriate (see below).  Note on the waste tag if the sharps is also biohazardous.

When and how to dispose of filled sharps containers:

Sharps containers MUST be discarded when reaching the fill line on the label, approximately ¾ full.  DO NOT overfill containers.  Containers must be discarded within 7 days of being full if kept at room temperature.  Close and tape the lid of the container prior to disposal through the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEH&S).  Call the following numbers for pickup:

Campus site

Medical Waste Sharps

Chemical Waste Sharps

Radiation Waste Sharps

Medical Center

353-1283

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Parnassus, Laurel Ht.s

476-0546

476-0544

476-1771

SFGH

206-8076

514-4108

514-4107

Mission Bay

514-4107

514-4108

514-4107

Mt. Zion

476-0546

502-1124

502-1129

FOR A NEEDLESTICK INJURY CALL THE EXPOSURE HOTLINE PAGER:

ALL UCSF EXCEPT SFGH: 353-7842                    SFGH: 469-4411

after the beep enter your callback number and press “#”

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