Handling Insulin Injectors at Work

If you have diabetes, you know how challenging it can be to manage your disease. One of those challenges involves learning how to treat your condition in the workplace in a safe and private manner.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to enable employees with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities unless doing so would cause a significant difficulty or expense. Depending on the needs of the individual, these accommodations can vary. Here are some ways employers accommodate employees who have diabetes:

  1. Allowances are made for breaks to eat or drink, take medication or test blood-sugar levels.

  2. A private area is provided to test blood-sugar levels or to administer insulin injections.

  3. A private area is provided for employees who need to rest until blood-sugar levels return to normal.

Handling and disposing of insulin injectors in the workplace is an important part of keeping everyone safe. Insulin injectors are part of a group of tools called “sharps” that include needles, syringes, lancets (or “fingersticks”) used as a means to get blood for blood-sugar tests, auto injectors (for insulin or epinephrine), and other devices used to treat diabetes and other conditions that need maintenance by injection of medications.

One of the most common ways that employers accommodate diabetic employees is to provide ready access to a sharps disposal container in the workplace. FDA-approved containers are common, have a tight-fitting lid and are made of puncture-resistant plastic with leak-resistant sides and bottom.

Employers should designate staff to monitor the fill level of the sharps container to make sure it is not overfilled, prohibit employees from putting non-sharps items in the container and ensure that all staff know how to properly use the container. Doing so can lead to a healthier work environment.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health