One of the most important aspects of proper medical waste disposal is how you deal with your medical sharps. While there is a bit of ambiguity when it comes to regulated medical waste (for example, how much blood is enough blood to necessitate throwing an item in red bag waste), the rules surrounding proper sharps disposal are fairly black and white. If your Georgia medical clinic uses sharps, it's vitally important that you and your entire staff know exactly what constitutes the steps and procedures of sharps disposal.

What Every Georgia Medical Clinic Should Know about Medical Sharps Bins

Does My Georgia Clinic Need to Use Sharps Containers?

Yes! The use of a puncture-resistant sharps container is always necessary. The laws governing this practice are federal, so your Georgia clinic (in fact, any state's clinic) is affected.

Whether you're based out of Atlanta, Seattle, or any city in between, it is illegal to throw away sharps without first placing them in a sharp container.

Why Are Sharp Bins So Important?

Using these bins is important for two main reasons—both of which are of extreme importance.

The Legality of Using a Sharps Bin

Failing to use a sharp bin is failing to comply with a federal law, and your Georgia-based clinic will be liable to face punishment because of that. This can range from fines to loss of the clinic. (The severity of the punishment corresponds to the flagrance of the offense.)

The Safety Factors of Proper Disposal of Sharps

Loose needles or other sharps are hazardous to anybody who comes in contact with them. Especially if that sharp is used, it could contain blood or other bodily fluids infected with any number of diseases. If somebody were to get stuck accidentally by an improperly disposed sharp, there could be incredibly severe health consequences for that person.

What Contributes to Improper Sharp Disposal? 

Not following the federal mandates regarding how to dispose of sharps could stem from several problems.

  • Lack of knowledge. One of the staff members might not have been properly trained or did not adequately understand the training received regarding the proper disposal of sharps.
  • Willful negligence. An employee might know the rule but choose not to follow it.
  • Extenuating circumstances. This could be any number of issues. For example, maybe the sharp container is full, and the employee doesn't know the protocol for that situation.

How to Properly Package a Sharps Bin for Transport in Georgia

  • Any sharp that needs to be disposed of (whether used or not) must go into a puncture-resistant sharps container. It can never go directly into the biohazardous box because that box not resistant to sharps poking through.
  • The sharps container (once full or ready for medical pickup) should then go into the cardboard box or other outer container.
  • The outermost box should be properly and fully taped closed.

What If I Need More Sharps Containers?

If you're working with a medical waste management company, the best place to seek out more containers is through them.

They can send you more containers (even overnight them if you're in immediate need), or you can simply wait until the company's route conveniently runs past your business. This is a great option if you're in a central, populated area such as Atlanta, Georgia. If you're in a more rural area (where a management company is less likely to go), ordering the boxes might be your best option.

Typically, doctors can select from some sharps bin options, including size and whether they are wall mounted or not.

Don't forget, it's also an option to order these containers directly from the manufacturer.

Georgia Waste Management Sharps Regulations

Every state handles its sharps regulations slightly differently, and Georgia is no exception.

Some states require medical waste to be picked up every thirty days. This is the case in Florida, for example, but it is not the case in Georgia.

It is, however, a law in Georgia that there's a fifty-pound limit on each box of medical waste. (Each biohazardous box is rated and tested for up to fifty pounds, so this maximum is not meant to be exceeded.)

Because of these differing state laws, working with local medical waste management companies will help ensure you're fully in both federal and state compliance.

For more information about proper sharps disposal within Georgia, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a medical waste management company in Georgia, with over twenty-five years in the waste management industry.