Does your Sharps Container Pass the Candy Test?
If a child dropped a piece of candy into your sharps container, could their small hands reach in to retrieve it? Sounds like a crazy scenario right? Unfortunately it’s not so crazy as you might think.
Typically a sharps container is small and colourful; it sits on the bench in a physicians office, and to a little exploratory mind is sometimes just too irresistible to ignore. In our 30+ years of living in healthcare, stories are replete of small children being stuck with a needle when their hands dive into an open-lidded sharps container to explore what lies within, or in an attempt to retrieve an item they have curiously dropped inside.
A 3-year old dropped his parents car keys into the round hole of a sharps container. Unaware of the scenario that was unravelling, his mother was only made aware of what had taken place when her young son cried out in pain. With his hands tightly fisted into the top opening of the container trying to retrieve the keys, the boy had been punctured with seven different needles.”
This is a true story, and it is one of many that is distinctly avoidable. In this scenario, it is what happens next that is most harrowing… trying to determine the medical history of the contaminated needles, exposing a child to strong preventative medications, waiting… and seeing… for months whether a life-threatening illness has been contracted through the exposure. It is emotionally traumatic. It is avoidable.
Hands must never be able to enter a sharps container;
safety with such high risk at stake, should not be an option.
Born out of five years of research and development with the input of experienced clinicians, the Sharpsmart container was designed to be impenetrable. A wide aperture for safe disposal, a safety tray that is not able to be manipulated by even the smallest of hands, a secure cavity that 100% restricts hand-access to disposed sharps.
Image A shows the clinically engineered Sharpsmart sharps container. A secure tray conceals the full aperture of the container restricitng hand access above and below the tray. When full, the safety tray self-locks into a fixed position, eliminating risks of overfilling. The reusable Sharpsmart container is made of ABS plastic and is impenetrable by contained sharps.
Image B shows a standard sharps container that can be found in many small health practices across the United Kingdom. The sharps container is light in construction and has an open access top allowing sharps and needles to be vertically dropped into the container. Containers are often at risk of being overfilled, and there is no safety mechanism preventing hand access.
Risks can be avoided
At Sharpsmart we believe that through safety engineered design, many injury risks within healthcare can be avoided. Understanding the patient environment is essential to delivering product and services that intercept human error, and in a sharps container, secure concealment of contaminated sharps should be a non-negotiable. Read more about our Sharpsmart container innovation here.