Written by Megan Chamberlain
08 Oct 2020

A New Normal in Safe Sharps Disposal

Bring your sharps waste disposal into the modern era - by choosing a smarter sharps container.


Daniels Health created the Sharpsmart reusable sharps container with clinical staff and patient safety in mind. Adopted widely by thousands of facilities across the globe - we are now on a mission to create #ANewNormal. A future where infection control and occupational safety are the key decision making factors for healthcare. We are radicalizing how the industry approaches sharps disposal - because we know just a few small changes, can have major impacts on safety.


Explore how we are creating #ANewNormal in sharps disposal safety:

How it all began...

Confronted with the reality that was the Aids epidemic of Australia in 1986, and the potentially life-altering threat it presented to healthcare workers and patients alike, Dan Daniels, our founder, knew there had to be a better method for sharps disposal in a clinical setting. One that prevented patients from retrieving syringes from disposal containers, prevented EVS from encountering a rogue sharp that hadn’t been disposed of but rather forgotten on bedsheet, and prevented clinicians from needlestick injuries during sharps disposal.

Dan realized all these threats were preventable – healthcare just needed better sharps disposal technology. And if it didn’t exist yet, he knew he could help create it.

Working with microbiologist, Alan Perceval, Dan began crafting what would go onto become known as the “world’s safest sharps container” – the Sharpsmart. This dream resulted in a reusable sharps containment system with over 20+ inbuilt safety features to protect both staff and patients. Not to mention robotic-washing technology that was developed, extensively researched, tested and independently verified to achieve a level of decontamination and sanitization 4x higher than required by the CDC in the United States.

This innovation designed to actively prevent and reduce sharps injuries, fueled Dan's dream of Making Healthcare Safer - a dream that spread from Australia to the United States, Canada, the UK, and South Africa.

And now, it’s time for the Sharpsmart to be the new normal when it comes to choosing a sharps container for your facility.

The design of the Sharpsmart sharps container

No aspect of the Sharpsmart container design is without purpose. In fact, each unique safety feature was engineered based on feedback from clinicians and EVS folks like you. It took years of research and development – and it was worth every second. Advocates like Karen Daley, former president of the American Nurses Association, are why we developed the Sharpsmart:

"My injury didn't occur because I was careless or distracted or not paying attention to what I was doing. This injury and the life-threatening consequences I am now suffering should not have happened. And worst of all, this injury would not have happened if a safer sharps container had been in place in my work setting."

Karen Daley  - former president of the American Nurses Association 

The culmination of these ideal features result in a sharps container that was scientifically proven to reduce sharps-container related needlestick injuries by over 80%. This is not your average sharps container – it is, literally, a Safety Engineered Device. The design solves several safety problems that clinicians were facing daily at the time of the product development, and all these years later still do. Here are just a few of the common problems the Sharpsmart system solves:

Addressing the four most common causes of container-associated Needlestick Injuries: 

The problem: journey required for clinicians to dispose of a sharp in a single use plastic container

The solution:

  • Point-of-use disposal – the Sharpsmart container is designed to be wall-mounted at the NIOSH recommended height of 52’-56’ from the floor to the lid of the container and optimally placed near the point of waste generation. The Sharpsmart can also be mounted on a mobilized trolley so the waste can be removed from the patient environment immediately.




The problem: the sharps injury risk associated with disposing of a sharp in the small opening of a single use plastic container

The solution:

  • Wide-aperture with a gravity-balanced tilt tray. Clinicians need to simply drop the sharp onto the tray and let nature take hold – the gravity-balanced tray automatically detects the lightest of sharps waste and tilts backwards, depositing the sharp. A completely hands-free process.




The problem: the ability to overfill a sharps container can drastically increase the risk of sustaining a sharps injury.

The solution:

  • Inbuilt overfill protection. The gravity-balanced tray of the Sharpsmart is designed to automatically tilt upwards to a locked position where it reads, very clearly, "FULL"  when contents reach the maximum fill capacity, eliminating overfilling and associated risks. This removes the possibility over dangerous overfill - a threat that early on in the nursing career of Karen Daley, was the cause of her contracting HIV and Hepatitis C.




The problem: the ability for someone to reach into a sharps container and retrieve a sharp for whatever purpose

The solution:

  • Tamper-proof technology. Along with the impenetrable plastic body of the Sharpsmart, the tilt-tray is designed so that no hands, regardless of how small, can reach into the container to retrieve any contents. There is a safety test that asks, “If a child reached into this container to retrieve a dropped piece of candy, could they?” and the answer for the Sharpsmart is a resounding no.
  • Temporary and permanent locks. The temporary locks of the Sharpsmart allow you to secure the container when you may need to move it from one area of the facility to another; whereas, the permanent locks are engaged when the container has reached fill capacity and cannot be unlocked until it arrives at a Daniels clean processing plant.

View all 20+ inbuilt safety features here.


Peer-reviewed research of the Sharpsmart system


When we think of #ANewNormal for healthcare workers, we consider the accepted fact that science and research is king. Daniels Health knows that implementing a few changes in behavior, and optimizing smarter solutions, can impact a variety of areas inside the four walls of a facility – and we've had scientists put the Sharpsmart to the test. Below are just a few of our results:

  • Sharps Injury and Prevention | In a 2 year before and after study focusing on reducing sharps injuries at 28 Ascension Health hospitals, the 14 hospitals who converted to Daniels Sharpsmart saw after-procedure sharps injuries fall 30%, disposal related sharps Injuries fall 57%, and container associated sharps injuries fall 81%. Full study here. (the 14 hospitals that did not convert, saw no downturn in needlestick injuries in the same period)  


  • Labor Reduction and Staff Efficiencies | Stanford School of Medicine (SoM) faced the challenge of having multiple vendors collecting the medical waste and sharps containers from their 26 facilities. By converting to the Daniels Sharpsmart reusable system for sharps and Daniels solutions for medical waste, Stanford saw: a 20% increase in efficiencies for the first year. Full study here.


  • Volume and CO2 Emission Reduction | Conducted at a hospital in the United Kingdom, this study concludes that Sharpsmart sharps containers can reduce a hospital's CO2 emissions by 90%. Through switching to the Sharpsmart sharps containers, this hospital has taken initiative to reach the societal goal of a low carbon society. The Sharpsmart increased waste segregation which in turn delivered a 35% decrease in weight of sharps waste stream – reducing overall costs. Full study here.


The Sharpsmart is how we create #ANewNormal in clinical safety

There is a better way than the current industry standard for sharps disposal - we know because we created it. We studied it. We believe in it. The Sharpsmart offers a solution in the form of a Safety Engineered Device that enforces correct waste segregation, provides touchless disposal, eliminates overfill risk, and protects both patients and staff. Also, it's really time to let go of single-use plastic containers - especially when a safer more sustainable version existsWe aren't ignorant to the fact that the Sharpsmart may not be the ideal solution for facilities that generate very, very minimal volumes of sharps waste; however, we have seen the impact it can have for the majority of clinical workers it has been exposed to - and we hope you see that too.

To speak to one of our experts today and see if the Sharpsmart should be part of your New Normal, click here.


Header Style: 
Megan Chamberlain

Megan Chamberlain

Content Strategist

With a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things and a quick wit, Megan was the recipient of the Daniels Pun-Master Award 2017 and is the go-to for fun analogies to explain healthcare waste.