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.

Policy

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 an approved disposal 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

1

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.

2

Put on single-use gloves.

3

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

4

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.

Note:

  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.

5

Repeat step 4 for each individual needle or syringe.

6

Screw the lid of the disposal unit on firmly.

7

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

8

Wash hands in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.

9

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

1

Flush the injured area with flowing water.

2

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

3

Cover the wound with waterproof dressing.

4

Report the injury to the principal.

5

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
  • Victorian WorkCover Authority Code of Practice - First Aid in the Workplace 1995

Department resources