Syringe Disposals and Injuries

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Purpose of this policy

To ensure schools safely manage:

  • discarded needles
  • needle stick injuries.


Teachers and principals must:

  • be familiar with the school’s disposal procedures for used needles
  • actively discourage students from picking up needles or syringes.

Note: Schools should have a sharps container for discarded needles, stored out of reach of staff, students and visitors. If an approved disposal container is not available use a hard-wall container. Do not use glass bottles.

Equipment required

  • Single use gloves
  • Tongs
  • Plastic bags
  • Approved disposal container.

Needle disposal

This table describes how schools dispose of needles and syringes.

Step Action


If the discarded syringe or needle is:

  • accessible, continue with the disposal procedure
  • not accessible:
    - mark the area so that others are not at risk
    - supervise area
    - contact the Syringe Disposal Helpline on 1800 552 355.


Put on single-use gloves.


Place the disposal container on the ground next to the syringe.


Using tongs, pick up the syringe from the middle keeping the sharp end away from yourself and place it in the disposal container, needle point down.


  1. Never try to recap a needle, even if the cap is also discarded.
  2. Long metal tongs can be used to reach difficult to access places.


Repeat step 4 for each individual needle or syringe.


Screw the lid of the disposal unit on firmly.


Remove gloves and place them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and dispose of it in a rubbish bin.


Wash hands in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.


To dispose of the sharps disposal container, contact the:

  • Syringe Disposal Helpline on 1800 552 355 for:
    - advice about handling syringes
    - the location of the nearest local council syringe program or public disposal bin
  • local general practitioner
  • local hospital.

Note: Disposal containers or syringes must not be put in normal waste disposal.

Treating needle stick injuries

This table describes how schools treat needle stick injuries.

Step Action


Flush the injured area with flowing water.


Wash the affected part with warm soapy water, then pat dry.


Cover the wound with waterproof dressing.


Report the injury to the principal and on eduSafe or CASES21.


Ensure the injured person sees a doctor as soon as possible for:

  • assessment of the risk
  • treatment, if required.

An adult should accompany the student to the nearest doctor/medical centre.

Note:Research indicates the risk of infection from needle stick injury is low and should not cause alarm.

See: Department of Health's Victorian Infectious Diseases Bulletin

Related policies

Related legislation

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
  • WorkSafe Victoria First Aid in the Workplace - Compliance Code 2008

Department resources