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 PlusExternal Link (staff login required) 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 injuryExternal Link

Relevant legislation

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

Reviewed 24 January 2022

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools


Health Promotion, Prevention and Advice

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