Sharps Safety

Sharps are instruments that can puncture, cut, or scrape body parts. These include, but are not limited to syringes, needles, scalpel blades, razor blades, wires, Pasteur pipettes, lancets, and other sharp metal laboratory waste. Sharps are puncture hazards to laboratory staff and waste handlers. For this reason, it is recommended that PIs use safety engineered sharps whenever possible to reduce the risk of exposure to potentially infectious materials or hazardous chemicals.

All sharps must be disposed in puncture-resistant impervious rigid containers with self-closing lids. Do not fill sharps containers greater than 2/3 full. Sharps should never be thrown in the regular trash.

Disposing of Sharps 

  • Sharps must be placed in a red sharps container
  • Sharps container must have biohazard label
  • Sharps container must be disposed as biological waste (filled containers should be locked and placed in the biohazard waste box) PDF





Preventing Sharps Injuries

  • Never bend, break or recap needles or blades
  • Never remove a needle from a syringe or blade from a scapel by hand (use forceps instead)
  • Always discard used sharps in approved sharps container immediately after use
  • Never reach inside, overfill, or force items in sharps container