School operations

Syringe Disposals and Injuries


This policy sets out the requirements for schools to safely manage used/discarded needles and needle stick injuries.


School staff must:

  • be familiar with the disposal procedures for used needles set out below
  • actively discourage students from picking up needles or syringes


School staff must:

  • be aware of the Department’s needle disposal procedures and follow these procedures when disposing of needles in school grounds
  • actively discourage students from picking up needles or syringes

Schools must have a Sharps/Biohazard container for contaminated waste for discarded needles, stored out of reach of staff, students and visitors. If an approved disposal container is not available a hard-wall container must be used. Do not use glass bottles.

Equipment required

  • single use gloves
  • tongs
  • plastic bags
  • approved disposal container

Needle disposal procedure

The below steps describe how schools dispose of needles and syringes.

Step 1

If the discarded syringe or needle is:

  • accessible, continue with this 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

Step 2

Put on single use gloves.

Step 3

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

Step 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.


  • Never try to recap a needle, even if the cap is also discarded.
  • Long metal tongs can be used to reach difficult to access places.

Step 5

Repeat step 4 for each individual needle or syringe.

Step 6

Screw the lid of the disposal unit on firmly.

Step 7

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

Step 8

Wash hands in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.

Step 9

To dispose of the sharps disposal container, contact the:

  • syringe disposal helpline on 1800 552 355. They can also provide advice and information about:
    • handling syringes
    • the location of the nearest local council syringe program or public disposal bin
  • local general practitioners
  • local hospitals

Note: Disposal containers or syringes must not be put in normal waste disposal.

Treating needle stick injuries

The below steps describe how schools treat needle stick injuries.

Step 1

Flush the injured area with flowing water.

Step 2

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

Step 3

Cover the wound with waterproof dressing. 

Step 4

Report the injury to the principal and on eduSafe Plus or CASES21

Step 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: The risk of disease transmission is low.

For further information, visit Better Health Channel — Needlestick injury

Relevant legislation

Department policy on safely managing used or discarded needles and treating needle stick injuries in schools

Reviewed 03 March 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools


Health Promotion, Prevention and Advice

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