Getting to the point of sharps


‘Sharps’ is the collective term for medical and clinical equipment such as needles, syringes and blades. As the name suggests, the equipment presents a health and safety risk due to the sharp nature of the products and the potential for injury or contamination so they need to be stored, collected and disposed of carefully.

Safe sharps disposal

Sharps must be sorted and disposed of in accordance to their respective medical contamination. Either the entire container or more commonly the lid is colour coded in line with this contamination. Here’s how the DOH [1] (Department of Health) categorises this segregation.

• Purple lid: sharps that are contaminated with cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines should be segregated and disposed of at a suitably authorised incinerator. Purple-lidded sharps receptacles should be used for this waste stream.

• Yellow lid: sharps that are contaminated with (that is, used in the administration of) non-cytotoxic and non-cytostatic medicines should be segregated and disposed of at a suitably authorised incinerator. Yellow-lidded sharps receptacles should be used for this waste.

• Orange lid: sharps that are not contaminated with medicines should be segregated and can either be sent for incineration or disinfected by alternative treatment at a suitably authorised facility. Orange-lidded sharps receptacles should be used for this waste stream.

Citron Hygiene offers a complete sharps exchange service for the inSafe Safer Sharps system (designed and created by Astek Innovations). The system offers the highest level of protection from the beginning of the medical procedure through to the disposal of the needle. Not only is the needle protected by a lockable sleeve when not in use, it can also be operated single-handedly and the system is also suitable for all types of needles. Greatly reducing the risk of needle-stick injuries.

Citron Hygiene safely collect and exchange all units as part of its service. All waste is safely disposed of in full accordance with the latest waste stream disposal guidelines.

In addition to the inSafe Safer Sharps system, Citron Hygiene handles a wide range of sharps containers, such as Pharmi-Sharps, Cytotoxic and Cytostatic waste as well as sharps contaminated with body fluids. Our units use the DOH recommended colour coding system to help staff quickly and safely identify the right waste container. And, as you would expect from a leading hygiene services provider, all units are fully compliant with the latest waste disposal legislation.

Keeping Staff Safe

The EU ‘Safer Sharps’ directive will help ensure that healthcare professionals are fully protected from accidental sharps injuries or contamination. [2]

There are also some simple safety precautions to follow when dealing with sharps and their disposal. For example:

  • Do not overfill containers: Pushing and cramming sharps into a container can cause a serious injury
  • Do not attempt to re-use sharps containers. All containers should be safely removed and exchanged by a hygiene services expert.
  • If in doubt, refer back to guidance such as the EU ‘Safer Sharps’ directive, DOH’s Safe Management of Healthcare Waste document or the informative Citron Hygiene waste segregation posters.

If you would like more information about our comprehensive sharps disposal service,

Contact us to find out more about safe sharps disposal

[1] Safe Management of Healthcare Waste

[2] EU ‘Safer Sharps’ directive

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