Safety Engineered Devices (SED)

Government of Alberta Legislation

With increasing concerns of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses in healthcare settings, AHS is committed to using safer sharps devices that are designed to protect workers from injuries. However, with an increasing range of sharp safety devices on the market, deciding what to purchase is not a simple task.

Contracting, Procurement and Supply Management and Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) are working with AHS vendors to keep current with new developments in SED technology.

The Occupational Health and Safety legislation states that SEDs must be supplied and used with only two exceptions:

  • The use of the SED is not clinically appropriate, and
  • The SED is not commercially available.

The Safety Engineered Devices Waiver Process is in place to accommodate the rare occasion where a SED cannot be used in the workplace. The waiver applications are reviewed by WHS and only applies to physicians and staff working in AHS operated facilities.


Conventional Device – A sharps device that does not offer sharps injury protection.

Medical Device – Health or medical instruments used in the mitigation, treatment, diagnosis, prevention of a disease or abnormal physical condition.

Safety Engineered Device (SED) – A device that has a built in sharps injury protection mechanism such as an attached sheath covering the needle or scalpel after use or needles that retract after use. Other types of safety devices include blunt needles or needle-less systems. SEDs protect the user from exposure to blood borne pathogens or chemical hazards (i.e., cytotoxic medications).