It has become a “daily occurrence” where employees will find individual needles in the blue bins’ sorting line, but this was one of only a few occasions where the bag was “full” of them.
Rozee says the Waste and Recycling Centre’s contracted operator treated the cases as “serious incidents requiring medical assistance.”
In the more recent one, the worker was taken to an emergency room along with a box containing the needles so medical professionals could identify what was in them.
While declining to speak specifically about what kinds of treatments these employees received, he says doctors would have looked at their medical records to see what kinds of shots they might need to prevent them from contracting something like hepatitis. Blood work is done at the time and again several months later.
Even though most syringes are made of plastic, Rozee is reminding the public that they have to be disposed of properly.
“Whether it has a sharp point or not, we don’t want any medical or non-medical syringes in the recycling, or for that matter, in the garbage. Those items should go in a proper sharps container and then back to your pharmacist, or we can actually receive them here in a proper container at the Waste and Recycling Centre drop off where we collect hazardous waste.”
Sharps containers can be purchased from most pharmacies, but Rozee asks that you call beforehand to ask what specifically they would recommend. You can also call the city’s phone line at 3-1-1 for more information.
The City of Lethbridge has several public needle disposal boxes throughout the community. More details here.