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EHS
Waste Management

3.1   Definition

A sharp is any device having corners, edges, or projections capable of cutting or piercing the skin (Figure 3-1). LBNL's definition of sharps includes sharps regulated as medical waste, sharps with nonmedical waste materials (unregulated sharps), and unregulated

t_XBD9904-00715-10_TIF

Figure 3-1. Examples of sharps.

uncontaminated sharps that pose a safety hazard to the custodians and other personnel.

The following items are considered sharps at LBNL and should be placed in a sharps container (whether or not they are contaminated with medical/biohazardous waste).

·        Needles

·        Needles with syringes

·        Needles from vacutainers

·        Needles with attached tubing

·        Blades (razors, scalpels, X-acto, etc.)

The following items contaminated with medical/biohazardous waste must be placed in a sharps container:

·        Broken glassware

·        Glassware with sharp edges or points

·        Pasteur pipettes

·        Glass slides

The following items may be placed in a rigid container and marked with the words “Broken Glassware” and placed in the sanitary trash only if they are not contaminated with medical/biohazardous waste:

·        Broken glassware

·        Glassware with sharp edges or points

·        Pasteur pipettes

·        Glass slides


3.2   Sharps Containers

  sharps
 

Figure 3-2. Examples of sharps
containers for medical waste.

Sharps containers (Figure 3-2) should be RED and must be puncture-resistant and labeled as “sharps waste,” or labeled with a biohazard symbol and the word “biohazard,” or labeled as “unregulated sharps,” as specified in the following sections. Sharps containers must be placed in the laboratory near the area of sharps waste generation. Do not overfill sharps containers.

In the case of sharps contaminated with biological materials that are covered under the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, the sharps container must be leakproof on the sides and bottom, and must be “easily accessible to personnel and located as close as feasible to the immediate area where sharps are used.”

 

3.3         Sharps Waste Disposal Procedures for Biohazardous Areas

3.3.1      Sharps Waste Disposal Procedures for Medical Waste (Red Bag) Areas

  t_XBD9904-00628-04_TIF
 

Figure 3-3. Wear appropriate PPE when handling sharps waste.

Sharps containers used for medical waste (red-bag laboratories) must be made of rigid material so as to be puncture-resistant and labeled with the words “sharps waste,” or with a biohazard symbol and the word “biohazard.” This section describes the disposal procedures for a full sharps container.

Wear appropriate PPE when handling sharps waste (e.g., lab coat, gloves, and safety glasses). See Figure 3-3.

Close the lid on the sharps container when it is full (do not overfill). As a best-management practice, sharps containers should not be more than 2/3 full.

Exception: If you place blood vials containing fluid blood in a sharps container, then the sharps container must be disposed of within seven days, whether or not the sharps container is full.

Hand-carry the sharps container to a biohazardous waste container in your laboratory or to your nearest medical waste accumulation pickup container. Make sure the biohazardous waste accumulation container or the pickup container is lined with a red biohazard bag before depositing the sharps container. After depositing the sharps container, close the lid on the biohazard container.

If depositing the sharps container into a pickup container, fill out the Medical Waste Accumulation Log. Wash your hands after removing your gloves.

Remember, do not store full sharps containers in the lab; immediately transfer them to a biohazardous waste container.

3.3.2 Sharps Waste Disposal Procedures for Biohazardous Areas That Use Clear Biohazard Bags

Sharps containers used for biohazardous waste in laboratories using clear bags can be red in color, must be made of rigid material so as to be puncture-resistant, and must be labeled with the words “unregulated sharps” (see Figure 3-4). This section describes the disposal procedures for a full sharps container in an area that produces biohazardous waste and uses clear biohazard bags.

Wear the appropriate PPE when handling sharps waste (e.g., lab coat, gloves, safety glasses).

  BioSharpsContainer
  Figure 3-4. An example of
an unregulated sharps container.

Close the lid on the sharps container when it is full (do not overfill). As a best-management practice, sharps containers should not be more than 2/3 full.

Hand-carry the sharps container to a biohazardous waste container in your lab or your nearest medical waste accumulation pickup container. Make sure that the biohazardous waste accumulation container is lined with a clear bag or that the pickup container is lined with a red biohazard bag before depositing the sharps container. After depositing the sharps container, close the lid on the biohazard container.

If you are depositing the sharps container into a pickup container, fill out the Medical Waste Accumulation Log. Wash your hands after removing your gloves.

3.3.3 Sharps Waste Contaminated with Radioactive and/or Chemical Materials

Sharps wastes contaminated with radioactive and/or chemical materials are not regulated as medical waste. They are regulated as radioactive, mixed, or chemical waste, depending on the contamination. These sharps must not be put into the medical/biohazard sharps containers. Refer to LBNL/PUB-3092, Guidelines for Generators to Meet HWHF Acceptance Requirements, for proper disposal of these sharps, or contact your Waste Management Group Generator Assistant.

 

3.4   Sharps Waste from a Radioactive Materials Area (RMA)

Sharps waste originating from an RMA must be below minimum detection levels for radioactivity. By signing the Medical Waste Accumulation Log, the generator is certifying that there is no detectable radioactivity in the waste. If you are unsure whether there is radioactive contamination in your sharps waste, please contact your Radiation Control Technician.

 

3.5   Sharps Waste Disposal Procedures for Unregulated Nonbiohazardous Areas

Sharps are also generated in unregulated nonbiohazardous areas like shops, offices, and warehouses. These sharps, even though they are not contaminated with medical/biohazardous waste, must also be disposed of in sharps containers. This policy is in place to protect custodians and other employees from puncture wounds. The following items are considered sharps at LBNL and should be placed in a sharps container

·        Needles

·        Needles with syringes

·        Needles from vacutainers

·        Needles with attached tubing

·        Blades (razors, scalpels, X-acto, etc.)

Since these are uncontaminated sharps, remove or cover any biohazard symbols or labeling that says biohazardous or infectious waste. Label the container “Unregulated Sharps.  These sharps must also be free from chemical and/or radioactive contamination.

Sharps containers from unregulated nonbiohazardous areas must be transferred to the nearest medical waste pickup container by following the procedures outlined in “Sharps Waste Disposal Procedures for Biohazardous Areas Using Clear Biohazard Bags.” Fill out the Medical Waste Accumulation Log and describe the waste as an “unregulated sharps container.”

3.6 Uncontaminated Glassware Disposal Procedures  

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  Figure 3-5. Uncontaminated glassware ready for disposal.

Laboratory glassware free from any biohazardous, radioactive, and chemical contamination should be disposed of by packaging in a cardboard box or other rigid container. This policy includes the disposal of the following uncontaminated items:

·        Broken glass

·        Pasteur pipettes

·        Glass slides

·        Glass vials

 

When the box containing the glassware is full, seal the box closed, and label the box as “Broken Glass.” Set the box out for janitorial pickup. Although any rigid container or cardboard box may be used, you can also purchase cardboard boxes made especially for glassware disposal.