HIV/AIDS Precautions - Needles and Sharps and Handling Contaminated Materials
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Consider all needles and sharps as being infected. The user of the sharp should plan for its safe use and disposal.
- Wear appropriate gloves when touching and or handling items that are visibly soiled with blood or bodily fluids. Gloves must be changed in between contact of individuals.
- If there is potential for splashing, masks and eye protection must be worn.
- Use puncture-resistant containers for disposal of sharps and needles.
- Containers should have a max fill line, be leak proof, and closable.
- Label containers with symbols or words – for example usage of the biohazard symbol or "CAUTION: WASTE SHARPS."
- Clean and sterilize reusable syringes before reusing.
- Place large bore reusable needles in puncture-proof containers.
- Use clamps to remove lancet and scalpel blades from holders, not your fingers.
- Do not recap, bend, break or remove needles by hand from disposable syringes or otherwise handle after use.
Please also see the OSH Answers document HIV/AIDS in the Workplace for more information.
- Disinfect or sterilize medical devices or apparatus according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Clean instruments thoroughly before disinfecting with a germicide or medical grade disinfectant.
- Incinerate or autoclave infectious waste before disposal.
- Most Canadian jurisdictions have guidelines or regulations for the management of biomedical waste. Confirm what the requirements are for your jurisdiction.
- Remove visible material from patient care areas and decontaminate.
- Remove blood or body fluids with absorbent paper towels. Dispose according to hospital policy.
- Clean area and use medical grade disinfectant.
- Place collected blood and body fluid specimens in sterile containers. Securely close lid.
- Clean the outside of the container with disinfectant if visibly contaminated.
- Place container in a clear impervious plastic bag.
- Label container "Blood and Body Fluid Precautions." Label requisition and attach to outside of bag.
- Do not transport in a vacuum/pneumatic system.
- Use disposable patient care articles whenever possible.
- Incinerate or dispose of disposable articles according to hospital policy.
- Place articles soiled with blood in impervious bag. Label "Blood and Body Fluid Precautions."
- Reprocess reusable items according to hospital policy.
- Fact sheet last revised: 2017-03-01