What does the term 'sharps' mean?"

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In addition to syringes and injection devices anything attached to them will also be considered sharps waste. Examples of such attachments could be a syringe, tube, or Vacutainer. The entire complex is treated as one unit of sharps waste, even though the attached item cannot puncture or lacerate the skin.

The category of blades can include razors, scalpels, X-Acto knives, scissors, or any other medical items used for cutting in the medical setting.

Both needles and blades are always treated and handled with the highest concern as sharps waste. This is regardless of if they have been contaminated with biohazardous material. While glass and plastic are considered sharps waste, their handling methods can vary.

Glass and plastic items, which have been contaminated with a biohazardous material, will be treated with the same concern as needles and blades (even if unbroken). If not contaminated, broken glass and plastic is still a sharp waste but does not pose the same public health risk. Therefore broken glass and plastic that has not been contaminated is not handled as delicately. Some common medical items of this category are test tubes, microscope slides, culture dishes, pipettes, and vials.