Sharps, Foreign Objects and First Aid
Sharps are any items or objects that could cause you (or others) injury or death. Things like syringes (needles), scalpel, safety pins, scissors or even the edge of a container.
If you find a sharp object you must follow your organisations 'sharps policy'. Injury occurs when there is a break in the skin surface from a prick, cut or stab. Sharps may be contaminated with HIV, hepatitis or other deadly diseases.
If you find a sharp object in dirty linen you may should:
- Stop the belt from moving if applicable
- Alert your co-workers of what you have found
- Collect the 'sharps container' that has a secure lid on it (similar to the picture on the right)
- Bring the 'sharps container' to the sharp object (make sure you are wearing your protective gloves)
- Carefully place the sharp object in the 'sharps container' using tongs or a dust pan and broom (while wearing your protective gloves)
- Remove gloves and wash hands well with soap and running water
- Record the sharp 'type' (for example, scissors) and which hospital it came from on the 'sharps record sheet'
TIP - Never walk towards the sharp container with the sharp object in your hand. Someone could bump into you and you might get stabbed or cut. DO NOT attempt to put the cap back on a needle, bend it or break it in anyway.
Sharps must NEVER be disposed of in normal rubbish bins!
Needle stick injuries and other accidents can occur often and without warning. First Aid must be followed immediately. These steps are very important to reduce the risk of infections and diseases such as HIV (hepatitis):
- Stay calm
- Encourage the wound to bleed
- Wash the wound with running water and soap (if available)
- Apply antiseptic and band-aid
- Contact your Supervisor (or local Doctor/Hospital) as soon as possible. Inoculations must take place within 24 hours of the needle stick injury occurring
Notify your First Aid Officer or Supervisor of any injury or wound so they can take immediate action.