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The safe handling and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments forms part of the overall strategy of clinical waste disposal to protect staff, patients and visitors from exposure to bloodborne pathogens (Loveday et al 2013).



All healthcare workers must be aware of their responsibility in avoiding needlestick injuries. As with many infection prevention and control policies the assessment and management of the risks associated with the use of sharps is paramount and safe systems of work must be in place to minimise any identified risks.


Definition of a Sharp

The Health and Safety Executive define a sharp as a needle, blade or other medical instrument capable of cutting or piercing the skin.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: The Infection Control Team
Ratified by: Clinical Governance Committee
Date Ratified: April 2018
Date Issued: August 2019
Review Date: April 2020
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Ann Birler, Nurse Consultant / Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control


See also:

  • Standard Precautions Policy
  • Management of Needlestick, Sharps, Human Bites and Contamination Accidents Policy
  • Management of Healthcare Waste Policy