Sharps

Contact(s)

Keeping our region safe is everyone's responsibility. In an effort to keep our region safe from needle stick injuries and possible infections, we collaborate with community partners to install community sharps bins, offerfree public education on how to safely handle and dispose of a sharp, and provide biohazard containers for clients to safely dispose of used needles and other harm reduction equipment.  

Do your part by learning about sharps, and what to do if you find one in your community:

About Sharps

What is a sharp?

A sharp is any object that has the ability to puncture or cut someone or something. Examples include:

  • needles
  • syringes
  • lancets
  • scalpel or razor blades
  • glass pipes
  • any other item(s) that may cut or puncture the skin, which may have also been contaminated by blood or bodily fluids.

Where in the community are sharps found?

Sharps should always be discarded in a hard-sided puncture-proof container (e.g., biohazard container, pop bottle, laundry container with a lid) and then dropped off at an appropriate disposal site (see our Sharps Handling and Disposal page for more information). Most people in our communities dispose of used sharps properly, but sometimes sharps are not properly discarded in the community and may be found in:

  • parks
  • beaches
  • alleyways
  • sidewalks
  • garbage cans or recycling bins
  • public washrooms
  • residences

Reporting Sharps 

If you find a sharp on city property, review and follow the steps for safe handling and disposing of a sharp. If you are not comfortable handling the sharp, please call your municipality's public works department.

If you find a sharp on private property, review and follow steps for safe handling and disposing of a sharp. There is currently no phone number to call if a sharp is found on private property. It is the responsibility of private property owners (or landlords) to discard sharps found on private property.

What to do if Injured by a Sharp

There is a very low risk of blood borne infections from sharps injuries. Someone who does get injured by a used sharp should:

• Let it bleed freely.

• Wash with area with soap and water.

• Seek medical attention for serious injuries, and for advice about risks of infection and suggested treatment.

 If the incident happened while working, contact your occupational health department and report the incident accordingly.

Information for Organizations and Workplaces

What do I include in a safe sharps handling and disposal kit?

Putting together a safe sharps handling and disposal kit is inexpensive and easy to do. It is recommended that a safe sharps handling and disposal kit include the following items:

  • Puncture-proof and/or disposable gloves
  • Tongs, forceps or tweezers
  • Hard-sided container with a lid (e.g., biohazard container, pop bottle, laundry container with a lid)
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Information on how to safely handle and dispose of a sharp

Purchasing Biohazard Containers

Biohazard containers come in a wide range of sizes, styles and forms. Containers are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from a number of distributers. For more information on where to purchase or pick-up biohazard containers, please contact harm.reduction@healthunit.ca

My organization/workplace has sharps containers in their bathrooms. Where can I dispose of the biohazard containers once they are full?

For agencies that require regular sharps pick-up and disposal, connect with your municipality or the Health Unit for information about local disposal options. Agencies and/or businesses may also connect with one of the following companies to set-up an account for regular disposal services:

Register for an upcoming Safe Sharps Handling and Disposal Training!

Training is available online at no cost to community members, organizations and workplaces.  

If you require additional information, or have questions about sharps in the community, please contact us via email at harm.reduction@healthunit.ca.

Related Topics:

 

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808