SOP for the Management of Sharps Containers


The purpose of this SOP is to ensure a safe and standardised approach to the assembly, use and disposal of sharps containers in your dental practice.



  • Lid must be securely attached to the base of the container – there should be an audible click when the lid is in place and it must not be possible to remove the lid. (photo 1)
  • The ‘Assembled by’, section on the container must be legibly completed and dated.
  • The lid should be placed on the container so that the opening is directly opposite the handle
  • The sharps container should be hung or fixed in a rigid holder in the surgery to reduce the risk of spillage. It should never be placed on the ground.


  • A list of items to be disposed of as ‘sharps’ should be set out in the practice Infection Prevention and Control document
  • The lid should be slid across (‘Temp’ mark aligned with ‘Close’ on the lid) over lunchtime and at the end of day (photo 2)
  • The sharps container must not be filled above the line marked on its external surface
  • The generator of the sharp is the person legally responsible for safely disposing of the sharp into the container.


  • When the sharps container has been filled the lid must be closed permanently before removing it from the wall mounting – there should be an audible click when the lid has been securely closed and the ‘Final’ mark will be aligned with ‘Close’ on the lid– This must be carried out before the container is removed from the dental surgery for disposal. (photo 2)
  • The ‘Closed/Disposed by’ and date sections must be legibly completed. (photo 3)
  • The closed container should be tagged, and the number of the tag must be recorded in the contaminated waste disposal log ready for collection by a licensed hazardous waste company.
  • Closed sharps containers must be stored in a secured, locked facility with no public access.