What are Medical Sharps?

three medical tools laid side by sideBiosafety Month 2022

What is the difference between Medical Sharps and other sharp lab materials?

Medical Sharps are instruments intended to cut or penetrate skin (e.g., needles, syringes with needles, tissue punch, lancets and razor blades). Medical Sharps require specific disposal methods into an approved Medical Sharps container to prevent them from going into regular trash.

Other sharp lab items are capable of causing cuts or scrapes but aren’t classified as Medical Sharps. “Pokies” or non-medical sharp items can poke through biohazard disposal bags when discarded, which could cause injury or an exposure event. If non-biohazardous, dispose into a labeled hard-sided container lined with 1 – 2 plastic bags. Dispose of biohazardous “pokies” into a labeled rigid plastic container for disposal and place into a MERI bin. 

For details see the EH&S Sharps Disposal webpage for Sharps Disposal guidance.

See Guidance

colorful illustration with stick figure people and colorful shapes representing biological safety concepts with lines connected and gray world continents map in backgroundIt’s Biosafety and Biosecurity Month 2022! Learn about the latest biological safety updates that impact labs like yours on the UW–Madison campus, and get the flyer to help spread the word.

The UW-Madison Office of Biological Safety is a proud member of the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA).