It is standard practice in developed, and even underdeveloped countries for used needles to be placed immediately into a sharps container after a single use, with only a few exceptions to the general rule. Sharing needles is often the cause of AIDS(HIV) and other blood-borne infections spreading among intravenous drug users. For this same reason, it is extremely important to place used sharps into sharps container in order to prevent spreading infection from needlestick injuries to medical personnel.
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When determining the specific type and brand of sharps containter to purchase you may be tempted to purchase some of the cheaper alternatives, but you should factor in the cost of sharps injury prevention for your facility beforehand. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has created a simple workbook to design, implement, and evaluate your Sharps Injuries Prevention Program. Here is a direct link to the workbook. Be sure to remember not only to pay attention to the direct cost of the containers but also to pay close attention to the indirect costs related to needlestick/sharps injury prevention, the estimate of costs of injuries of certain types of devices, and the comparison of costs of conventional devices to devices with safety features. You may find that the value provided by high quality sharps containers with built-in safety features are well worth the cost.
The International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia Health System has many resources for healthcare professionals, as well as the Exposure Prevention Information Network which was developed for healthcare facilities to provide standardized methods for recording and tracking percutaneous injuries and blood and body fluid contacts.
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