CARELESS Arun District Council residents have condemned two Biffa binmen and their relatives to six months of mental anguish.
The refuse workers face 24 weeks of medical and blood tests to see if they are infected after they were accidentally stabbed by hypodermic needles left in black sacks.
Known as needle sticks, the injuries can transmit diseases such as potentially fatal hepatitis and HIV.
Biffa reports two other staff cut their gloved hands when they picked up sacks which contained broken glass and pottery.
This is part of a worrying trend which Arun District Council’s refuse contractor has reported of needles, broken glass and knives being wrongly left in general household refuse.
Biffa business manager Laura Parker said the affected workers had to go through a worrying six months of medical tests because of someone’s thoughtlessness.
“Needle sticks are a very real danger to my staff,” she said. “They wear gloves and special nylon trousers but those won’t stop a needle stick. That’s why we are asking residents to help us.”
Arun and Biffa operate a free needle collection service of a bright yellow box for residents who want to dispose of their needles safely.
Ms Parker said Biffa could refuse to collect refuse from any address at which needles were found until the problem was resolved.
She asked residents who wanted to dispose of broken glass, pottery or knives to wrap them in paper or cardboard before they put them in their black sacks.
Cllr Paul Dendle, in charge of Arun’s environmental services, said: “Needles or any other sharp objects in sacks are dangerous. We support Biffa’s appeal.”