The collective name for needles, syringes and other objects which can cause potential harm to the public through contamination is 'sharps'.
You may find a needle or syringe in a number of places, including:
- Roads and pavements
- Bus stations
- Car parks
- Public parks, grass verges and other open spaces
- Public toilets
- School playgrounds
If you you come across a needle or syringe don't touch it or try to hide or conceal it. Please don't try to dispose of it by kicking it down a drain or putting it in the bin or down the toilet.
If you are a child – tell a grown up you can trust, such as your Mum, Dad, Teacher or Police Officer.
If you find a needle in a public space – such as a road (other than private road) pavement, verge, park, school and public building or Council house and garden please contact the Outdoor Services.
Give the person you speak to as much information as possible about the exact location of the object so that arrangements can be made to have the object uplifted by a trained operative.
If the needle or syringe is on private ground
If you find a sharp/needle on private property you should immediately inform the owner and arrange for it to be collected and disposed of.
We will dispose of the sharp if it is properly presented to us at our Waste Management Services, Western Road Depot, Kilmarnock (this service will be free of charge).
What to do if you want to move a syringe yourself
Do not touch a needle that is not attached to a syringe
- Find a suitable container, for example, metal tin, hard plastic tub, empty water or soft drink bottle - preferably with a lid. Do not use anything that could be easily pierced.
- Wear heavy duty gloves and use tongs, pliers or tweezers to lift the object – not scissors.
- Pick up the needle/syringe at the end of the syringe plunger or barrel.
- Hold the tongs/pliers in one hand and place the container on a flat surface in a horizontal position then place the object sharp end first into the container. Turn the container upright and let the object drop inside. If the container has a cap, put it on.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Take the sealed container to the Waste Management Services Office, Western Road Depot, Kilmarnock, where it will be properly disposed free of charge.
What to do if you are injured by a needle
If the skin is broken contact your local doctor or Ayrshire Doctors on Call for expert advice.
- Crosshouse Hospital – Ayrshire Doctors on Call – 01563 545545
- Ayr Hospital – Ayrshire Doctors on Call – 01563 545556
- NHS 24 - 01292 513049
Encourage bleeding for a minute or two by pinching around the wound with your thumb and forefinger to push out any germs.
If possible, note as much as you can about the syringe (if there is one) such as did it have fluid in it and if so what colour it was and if safe to do so retain the syringe for examination by medical staff.
There is a low risk of getting a blood-borne infection from a needle injury, for example, HIV or Hepatitis. However, it is important to get immediate medical advice if you are injured by a needle.
If you use needles and injecting equipment always remember to dispose of your used needles and equipment safely, such as in a needle exchange or sharps box which can be obtained through your doctor. Never throw your needles away, leave them lying around or put them in litter bins, toilets or drains. Remember, someone always has to pick them up.