CSM logo - horizontal

Trash Handling-Sharps Safety Talk

Needlestick accidents can occur while removing or transporting trash from a bin. When disposing of trash from medical rooms, restrooms, or public areas, anything can be found. Being aware of the potential risk inside these trash bags could prevent a sharps injury.

To protect yourself: 

  • Never reach into the trash container.
  • Hold full trash bags away from your body.
  • If you notice improper disposal of needles, contact your supervisor.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting when working in dark areas to avoid accidental contact with used needles or other sharp objects.
  • If you find a needle or syringe, always assume it is contaminated and handle it accordingly.
  • Always wear proper PPE, such as protective gloves, when handling trash or cleaning.

What do I do if I am Exposed? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, follow these guidelines if you are exposed to a needlestick:

  • Wash needlesticks and cuts with soap and water
  • Flush splashes to the nose, mouth, or skin with water
  • Rinse eyes with clean water
  • Report the incident to your supervisor
  • Immediately seek medical treatment


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

Meet Our Safety Team

Related Safety Resources