Skip to main content

Sharps Safety / Needle Recapping

Use and Disposal of Sharps

To prevent needle stick injuries:

  • Avoid using needles whenever possible.
  • Do not bend, break, or otherwise manipulate needles by hand.
  • Do not recap needles by hand. Do not remove needles from syringes by hand.
  • Immediately after use, discard needle and syringe (whether contaminated or not) into puncture resistant sharps containers.
  • Never discard sharps into regular trash.
  • Never discard sharps into bags of biological waste.
  • Use care and caution when cleaning up after procedures that require the use of syringes and needles.
  • Do not overfill sharps containers. Close completely when they are 3/4 full and request pickup from the ESSR website at
  • Although recapping needles is not recommended in the lab, there are times in which it must be done. In the event that needles must be filled in advance of their use, there are safe needle recapping methods that can be used to "recap" them using one hand.
  • Locate sharps containers in areas in which needles are commonly used. Make containers easily accessible.
  • Sharps containers may be purchased from Chemistry Stores (301) 405-1838 on campus, as well as from laboratory supply distributors such as VWR and Fisher Scientific.
  • Report the accident to the PI and the Biosafety Office (

In the event of a needle stick injury:

  • Wash thoroughly with soap and water. Notify supervisor and go immediately to Urgent Care Clinic at University Health Center. If UHC is closed, go to the emergency room at White Oak Medical Center (11890 Healing Way, Silver Spring, MD 20904) or to the most convenient local emergency room.
Back to Top