When researching the Joint Commission, there was a reoccurring question I noticed on the discussion pages: What  are the requirements for securing sharps containers?  This  is obviously an important issue that occurs in multiple patient treatment locations in a hospital,  physician office and outpatient treatment areas.  The following is a list of specific container locations for facilities, their placement and proximity, as well as required safety measures.

The Joint Commission is concerned about security. Sharps are identified as needles and other devices that must be locked or in an area with constant supervision.   So, just as you will receive a Survey of Finding for having an unlocked and unattended needle/IV supply cart in the hall, you will also receive a Survey of Findings for a locked needles container that is not secured to a wall or cart.

I am often amazed at the amount of regulatory data that is produced by government agencies on single topic.  The information below provides even more insight.

OSHA Regulations

OSHA’s  says that  sharps containers must be “easily accessible to personnel and located as close as is feasible to the immediate area where sharps are used or can be reasonably anticipated…”

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)  online reference document

Installation heights for fixed, wall mounted sharps disposal containers are:


    • Standing work stations 52 - 56 inches above the standing surface of the user


    • Seated work station 38 - 42 inches above the floor from where the chair sits


    • Pediatric Areas:  I would advise the standing work station height


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