Drug and alcohol debris
Hidden Hazards - Drug and alcohol debris can seriously damage your health
What is the problem?
Syringes, broken bottles and other items such as drink cans which have been modified to use as crack pipes are discarded in areas such as open land, playgrounds, car parks and stairwells – anywhere in fact. You could find some of these items on land which you are responsible for!
What are the risks?
If you happen to come into contact with drug and alcohol debris you could be at risk from:
- Physical injury from broken glass/needles; cuts, grazes etc
- Blood borne infections such as Hepatitis or HIV
- Other types of infection - which may cause sickness or diarrhoea for example.
In addition, where you find such debris you may also find blood, vomit, urine or faeces which carry their own infection risks.
What has it got to do with me?
If you are the owner of, or responsible for, any land on which syringes and other types of debris are discarded it is your responsibility to ensure that they are removed in a safe and hygienic way. Simply ignoring the problem is not an option as someone may injure themselves.
What does the law say?
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
These regulations require you to assess the risks from work with hazardous substances (such as would be encountered in collecting syringes and other drug and alcohol debris) and decide upon appropriate control measures. If you have five or more employees this assessment must be recorded.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
This Act requires you to put into place systems of work to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of yourself and your employees. You are also required to provide appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision for employees.
So what steps do I need to take?
You may wish to call in a professional contractor to arrange for the removal of any items left on your property. This would be the preferred option if you are not confident about removing the debris yourself.
Alternatively, should you decide to collect and dispose of the items yourself; there are a number of steps which you must follow:
- Assess the risks; look at the site and the discarded items, consider what equipment you may need to use – for example safety shoes with re-enforced soles and toe protection, gloves, litter pickers or tongues, a sharps container.
- Decide upon a safe system of work; train your employees if you expect them to assist.
- Use safe handling techniques – don’t rush.
- Place syringes into a proprietary “sharps container” and remember not to over-fill it.
- Wash your hands!
- Store hazardous waste safely and securely until it can be collected by a licensed waste disposal contractor.
Is there any help available to me?
For further advice and support you can contact:
Environmental Health at Walsall Council, Civic Centre, Darwall Street, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 1TP
- Telephone 01922 653010
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone 01922 646262
- Website www.addaction.org.uk
For removal of drugs paraphernalia in the Walsall Area please contact us at:
Hi's 'n' Lows
The Crossing at St Pauls
Office suite 2
This page was last updated on 25 November 2016