How To Prevent Syringe Accidents for Columbia Workers

3 years 10 months 1 week ago Monday, February 03 2014 Feb 3, 2014 Monday, February 03, 2014 12:56:00 PM CST February 03, 2014 in News
By: Jessica Park, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - In the past three years, there have been a total of 23 cuts/puncture accidents within the Columbia Solid Waste Division. Out of the 23 accidents, four of those were from needles, in both the Solid Waste Collection and Material Recovery Facility divisions.

Even though the boxes people use to dispose syringes say bio hazards on the lid, Cynthia Mitchell, the Solid Waste Utility Manager, says they refer to syringes as sharps.

"Well syringes are considered sharps, and should be put in proper packaging so someone doesn't get poked with those," Mitchell said. "It's from insulin usually, or there could be people putting in illegal materials in there and we don't want that definitely."

Mitchell also said trash collectors are exposed to getting poked by syringes, but those who sort through the trash are more likely to get poked by these sharp objects.

Once a worker gets poked with a syringe, the process to recovery consists of various shots and follow up check ups to make sure the person wasn't exposed to any type of disease.

"They have to follow up with Hepatitis type testing, shots for several months," Mitchell said. "It's a series of medication to make sure you don't get some type of illness from coming in contact with that."

Nicolas Paul, the supervisor of the Material Recovery Facility Division, is a Columbia worker who was poked by a syringe a few years back.

"When you open a blue bag, you don't expect needles to be in there and a lot of times you'll grab a blue bag, open it up and a needle will go through the gloves and stuff like that," Paul said.

Along with the physical pain and numerous check ups, Paul said there are other concerns as well.

"Maybe I could contract something, because you don't know what somebody already has and you don't want to transfer a disease to somebody else with a needle," Paul said. 

To try and keep the number of syringe accidents low, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services came up with The Red Box Program.

"This program was designed by one of our environmental health specialists, as a way to get needles and other sharps safely disposed of them so they don't show up in the landfill and people are not having to come in contact with them," said Andrea Waner, the Public Information Officer.

The program gives people a safer and easier way of disposing sharp objects like syringes instead of throwing them away in plain garbage bags. People can get these red boxes for free. Once the box is filled up, they can bring them back to the health department where the workers place them in another box until another company properly disposes them.

To prevent more accidents, Columbia workers have tried finding new ways to keep them safe. 

"We tried different types of gloves. We tried leather and we tried heavy plastic," said Paul. "The real heavy plastic though, it was harder to be able to open the bag and we ended up going back."

Both Mitchell and Paul said another way to dispose of syringes is to place them in items like coffee containers or peanut butter jars, put tape around them to make sure they're closed, and label them to help workers know before opening the containers.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Power was restored to 1,922 Columbia customers, according to Columbia Water & Light. The outage affected customers... More >>
1 hour ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 10:35:00 PM CST December 17, 2017 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A Cape Girardeau man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for shooting... More >>
3 hours ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 8:00:30 PM CST December 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Three years after picking up a disc for the first time, Cynthia Riccotti is thriving in her quest... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 6:25:00 PM CST December 17, 2017 in News
TIPTON - A family is trying to recover after losing everything in a house fire, and with help from the... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 5:20:00 PM CST December 17, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A boil advisory is in affect for Water Supply District No. 10 in Boone County. According... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 5:18:00 PM CST December 17, 2017 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A Kansas City woman has been arrested in connection with a fatal car crash in Camden County... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 4:48:00 PM CST December 17, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Area educators are opening up the topic of teen suicide for discussion after seeing deaths rise... More >>
7 hours ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 4:07:38 PM CST December 17, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The first ever "Christmas Countdown" Sunday is giving Jefferson City an opportunity for some last minute Christmas... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, December 17 2017 Dec 17, 2017 Sunday, December 17, 2017 9:21:00 AM CST December 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Police say they have arrested a man charged in an August quadruple homicide that occurred in... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:15:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - A two-vehicle car wreck Saturday left one dead and two others injured, according to the Missouri State... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:15:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - An event in Columbia today addressed the prevalence of gun violence and misuse of firearms by offering gift... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:04:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A six-year-old held a hot chocolate stand Saturday outside of a Hy-Vee in Jefferson City to help two... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 6:51:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Wyss Medical Foundation donated $2 million to the Missouri Orthapaedic Institute for the work of lead orthopaedic... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 5:05:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - On Friday, the Columbia Police Department inducted eight new recruits, the largest class of officers in years. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 4:03:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A new roundabout may be coming to Columbia on one intersection that may cause drivers trouble. The... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 3:55:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
JACKSONVILLE - An estimated 400 people attended a wreath laying ceremony Saturday at the Jacksonville State Veterans Cemetery. It... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 3:31:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Graduation day is long awaited by many and Amy Kiso Bledsoe is no exception. Bledsoe was... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:47:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — As Missouri struggles with the epidemic of opioid abuse, no place in the state has been... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 1:10:14 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 45°
12am 44°
1am 43°
2am 42°
3am 42°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:05p
Sports Extra with Chris Gervino
11:35p
The Simpsons
12:05a
Inside Edition
11:00p
Adventure Scouts
1:00a
Family Guy
1:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
7:00p
The Christmas Bunny
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy