Written by Josh Glover
13 Apr 2023

5 Ways Sharpsmart’s Reusable Containers Minimise Infection Risk

The safety of both patients and staff is a high priority in the healthcare industry. One method of ensuring the safety of both parties is through the proper handling and disposal of healthcare waste, and the use of safety-engineered devices to do so. Sharpsmart’s reusable containers have been proven to be a safe and effective way to minimise infection risk without having to compromise efficiency, sustainability, or compliance. When being considered as a healthcare waste solution, one of the first questions asked is: “What’s the infection risk of a reusable waste container?”

Let’s answer that question with some of the peer-reviewed research that has been conducted on our containers and explore five ways in which Sharpsmart’s reusable containers minimise infection risk.


TOPICS WE WILL COVER:

1 / What is the chain of infection?

2 / 5 ways Sharpsmart reusable containers minimise infection risk 

3 / The bonus way Sharpsmart minimises infection risk 

4 / A safe solution for staff and patients 



What is the Chain of Infection?

 

Before we look at the research and case studies demonstrating how Sharpsmart’s reusable containers minimise infection risk, it’s important to understand the chain of infection. The chain of infection is the term used to represent the series of events in which an infection is passed from one person to another.

 

All in all, there are six links in the chain of infection and they are:

  • Infectious Agent – The pathogen that causes diseases.
  • Reservoir – Place in the environment where the pathogen lives.
  • Portal of Exit – The way the infectious agent leaves the reservoir.
  • Mode of Transmission – The way the infectious agent can be passed on.
  • Portal of Entry – The way the infectious agent can enter a new host.
  • Susceptible Host – Any person that may receive the infection.
     

Interrupting the chain at any link breaks the chain of infection and prevents the germs from spreading from person to person. 



5 Ways Sharpsmart’s Reusable Containers Minimise Infection Risk

 

Industry-leading experts in healthcare safety, microbiology, and infection prevention have tested, reviewed, and assessed our reusable containers. One of the key findings from this research is that Sharpsmart’s reusable containers pose no risk of pathogen transmission to patients and environments. For infection to occur in a patient, the six links in the chain of infection need to take place and our reusable containers massively minimise the probability of this happening; even when considered with “worst case” scenarios.

In harmony with that assessment, our healthcare waste consultants have put together a shortlist of five ways Sharpsmart’s reusable containers minimise infection risk.

  • They are safe from infection transmission
  • They prevent disposal-related sharps injuries
  • They reduce waste handling
  • They are washed and sanitised
  • They are leak-proof

     

1. They are safe from infection transmission


A formal, peer-reviewed risk assessment has confirmed that Sharpsmart’s reusable containers are not a source of pathogen transmission and that there’s no blood-borne pathogen (BBP) risk associated with them.

The Reusable Sharps Containers: Impact On Infection Risk Research established through significant testing and the review of a large amount of information and evidence, it can be categorically stated that the design and processing of our containers support the reduction of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) and are not a source of them.

A recent multi-centre study on the C. diff transmission potential with sharps containers further proved the safety from infection transmission of our reusable containers. Each container was coated with a heavy suspension of C. diff spores and ran through the Washsmart robotic-cleaning process, removing all spores from the containers.

As for prions…

It’s been advised that prion transmission doesn’t occur from environmental surfaces and therefore the unlikely presence of prions in one of our containers poses no risk to patients, healthcare staff or factory workers.

The Washsmart process has been validated as effectively removing blood and bodily fluids and although the presence of prions hasn’t been tested, Sharpsmart’s containers have been used in healthcare settings worldwide for 30+ years and no transmission incident of any pathogen has ever been reported.

 

2. They prevent disposal-related sharps injuries
 

Clinically proven to reduce needlestick injuries by up to 87% and globally recognised as the safest sharps container in the world; the safety of Sharpsmart’s containers is backed by multiple peer review studies, and countless case studies from our healthcare partners.

Some of the ways Sharpsmart’s containers prevent disposal-related injuries are:

  • Arriving pre-assembled which reduces the sharps injury risks associated with incorrectly manually assembled containers.
  • Being optimally placed as close as possible to the point of care with interchangeable mounting and movement capability.
  • Restricting hand access and the ability to dispose of sharps beyond the container’s safe fill level.
     

Sharpsmart’s containers are also the only ISO-compliant reusable sharps containers on the market that meet the BS EN ISO 23907-2:2019 standards; certifying and classifying them as a Safety-Engineered-Device.

 

3. They prevent cross-contamination


Only clean, quality-assured containers will be transported to your site and will not be mixed with any full containers during transport or storage. An important factor for infection prevention and control is the positive impact of reducing surface touches, especially where potential pathogens are concerned. Sharpsmart’s reusable containers are not only robotically sanitised before being transported to sites but also provide touchless waste disposal, reducing the need for waste handling.

This hands-free disposal reduces overall surface touches and the added benefit of the containers arriving pre-assembled and bagless means even fewer touches with no hand-tying of dirty waste bags. Our focus on infection prevention control doesn’t end with our reusable containers…

Another big infection risk in healthcare environments is static bins that are left beside patient areas, posing a cross-contamination risk when overhanging curtains make contact with infectious waste. Our mobilised solutions remove this risk, increasing container hygiene and offering the ability to easily remove waste containers from the patient environment entirely.

The unnecessary risks taken with actions such as putting trays on patients’ beds are eliminated by solutions such as the Cartsmart which support the aseptic technique and assist point-of-care disposal all at the same time, providing healthcare staff with a clean, safe and stable work area.

 

4. They are washed and sanitised
 

Sharpsmart’s containers are emptied and sanitised at our clean processing facilities using our industry-leading Washsmart system.

The Washsmart system is a fully automated robotic technology system used for decanting, washing, sanitising, and drying containers; enabling the hands-free, safe and thorough decontamination of our containers.

This highly effective multi-stage decontamination process uses a thoroughly tested combination of water pressure, high temperatures, hospital-grade disinfectant and biodegradable detergent. The Washsmart process has been repeatedly verified by independent testing labs as exceeding the requirements for decontamination, achieving a 6-Log bacterial load reduction.
 

Learn more about how our reusable containers are washed and sanitised 
 

 

5. They are leak-proof
 

Whilst the “bag and box” method has been used for a long time as a solution, our reusable containers remove any risks of leakage and the contamination risks associated with it.

Container leakage is a common hazard in sharps containers in general, but each container prevents the risk of contamination to waste handlers by being equipped with a leakproof seal fixed around the rim of the lid, eliminating any leakage of bodily fluids during transport.

Sharpsmart provides the only iso-compliant reusable sharps containers on the market and as part of achieving that standard, they’re tested against extreme conditions to validate the quality of their performance. 



The Bonus Way Sharpsmart Minimises Infection Risk


We offer far more than a waste disposal service and that experience doesn’t end at the loading dock; Sharpsmart consultants will be working with you and your teams within the four walls. As well as conducting audits and providing training materials, our expert consultants will be on hand to educate healthcare staff on the many ways a healthcare waste management strategy impacts infection control. 



A Safe Solution for Staff and Patients


There’s only one ISO-compliant reusable sharps container on the market, proven to minimise infection risk whilst reducing waste handling and preventing disposal-related sharps injuries. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about the safety benefits of Sharpsmart’s reusable containers or are looking for guidance on healthcare waste management that minimises infection risk.

 

GET IN TOUCH 

 

 

Header Style: 
Josh Glover

Josh Glover

As a natural storyteller driven by curiosity, Josh aims to educate and engage through informative and thought-provoking content; working towards a safer and more sustainable healthcare system.