Workers in the healthcare industry are always at risk of contracting contagious and serious medical complications. This is the main reason why proper sanitation of medical and dental supplies and apparatuses are extremely necessary. Seemingly harmless medical needles may not cause any serious disease, but in reality, if they are not handled correctly and disposed properly, they can be sure carriers of different severe diseases. A medical needle or a cut from a sharp contaminated with disease-causing bacteria or virus can result in a medical worker being infected with various diseases. Some of the deadliest diseases a healthcare worker could contract from contaminated sharp include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), among other bloodborne pathogens. Whether the facility specializes in complicated medical operations or simple dental procedures like clear braces, invisible braces, teeth straightening, teeth aligners, and invisalign, workers are exposed to variety of health hazards.
While the risks involved in handling contaminated sharps are high, contracting bloodborne pathogens is incredibly easy to prevent. Careful handling of contaminated medical needles or sharps is one sure way to prevent spread of bloodborne diseases in Australian dental and medical facilities like hospitals, clinics, medical centres, medical laboratories, and medical schools. Hence, it is vital for employers and medical centre managers to strictly implement guidelines on proper handling and disposal of sharps.
Since risks of contracting bloodborne pathogen from contaminated sharps are apparent, it is the duty of the employer to ensure the safety and health of their employees. Health organizations around the world suggest employers to use safer medical devices as much as possible. In relation to this, employers are suggested to explore opportunities to use needleless devices, lowering risks of employees contracting diseases from sharps. Other than that, employers are recommended to strictly implement guidelines and company policies regarding proper use and disposal of sharps so as to protect the safety and health of their workers. Simply put, even if the clinic only specializes in simple dental surgeries or invisalign, the health risks cannot be discounted.
Prompt and proper disposal of sharps like medical needles and IV catheters is extremely important. Sharps must be placed containers immediately after use. Containers of sharps are designed to contain used and even contaminated sharps for the safety not only of workers but patients as well. These containers are filled with used sharps, such as medical needles and other sharp medical tools like IV catheter. Specifically, these containers can be used for either single use or for multiple times, depending on the make and sanitation features of the containers.
Based on standards set by different medical organizations, a sharp container must be able to withstand punctures that needles could cause. Moreover, according to medical sanitation standards, the container’s sides and bottom must be leak-proof. Workers who use containers are required to appropriately label the containers to give warning to everyone about hazardous contents. Additionally, the container must be closable, specifically in the case of containers for disposable needles and sharps. Health organizations suggest that containers must be replaced regularly and not to be overfilled in order to reduce chances of someone getting injured or cut by overfilled sharps. Furthermore, containers for sharps that are designed for reuse must not be opened, emptied or manually cleaned in any form in order not to expose the worker to risks of sharps injury like cut.
In Australia, medical facilities are particularly strict in implementing rules regarding proper disposal of sharps. These facilities invest on quality proper disposal of used medical and dental supplies in order to protect the health and safety of their workers. The risks involved in improper handling and disposal of sharps are real. When workers fail to follow safety standards, they are putting themselves at great risk of contracting life-threatening diseases like HIV, HBV, HCV, and other serious bloodborne diseases. This is why Australian healthcare employers are particular in implementing safety guidelines and policies, ensuring their employees of their safety.