Sharps safety in any healthcare environment is vital to providing quality care while preventing workplace injuries, even when the patients are animals. In veterinary care facilities, needlestick injuries are common and can cause serious injury, and loss of time at work.
The term “sharps” is used to define objects capable of cutting or penetrating skin or packaging material. Examples include:
- Instruments (such as scalpels and blades)
- Broken glass or ampoules
An injury by a sharp can cause disease when bloodborne pathogens enter the bloodstream. Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has a guideline that requires employees who use sharps to obtain education and training as part of a sharps injury prevention program. Employees should be educated on the proper protection of themselves and others during the use of sharps in the workplace.
In accordance with the National Standard of Canada (CAN)/CSA Standard sharps waste is to be disposed of directly into a puncture-resistant container. As a best practice, Stericycle recommends that all contaminated sharps from veterinary settings be placed in containers that are closable, puncture resistant, leakproof, and labelled/colour-coded to indicate the potential hazard. Containers should be easily accessible to personnel and located as close as feasible to the immediate area where sharps are used.
Veterinarians can also use a trusted third-party service to collect, treat, and dispose of their sharps waste. Stericycle services veterinary clinics and animal hospitals across Canada. Offering a wide variety of container sizes and service models, Stericycle can provide a waste management program specific to your facility's needs and waste volumes.
One option for managing sharps waste is Stericycle’s Sharps Management Service. This option provides a safe, efficient, and sustainable option, utilizing reusable containers and streamlines the collection and disposal of sharps waste:
- Seamless Installation
- Full-Service or Self-Service Container Exchange
- Tracked at Pick-Up
- Recorded for Compliant Treatment and Disposal
- Washed, Disinfected, and Inspected for Quality
- Safely and Sustainably Reused
Learn how Stericycle can help your veterinary practice by providing sharps waste management solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can veterinary clinics and animal hospitals take steps to reduce the risk of sharps-related injuries?
Veterinary clinic and animal hospital personnel should be trained on how to prevent needlestick injuries. For example, your practice may want to consider restraining animals during procedures to help minimize the risk of needlestick injuries that can happen when animals move during an injection.
How should sharps waste be disposed of?
As a best practice, all contaminated sharps should be placed in a sharps waste container that adheres to the requirements outlined in National Standard of Canada (CAN)/CSA Standard CAN/CSA Z316.6, Sharps Injury Protection- Requirements and Test Methods- Sharps Containers.
What are the best practices for training staff on sharps safety in veterinary clinics and animal hospitals?
Veterinary medicine and animal care workers should receive training on workplace hazards regularly. Comprehensive training programs should include instructions on preventing needlestick, scalpel, and sharps injuries.