(Gray News) - Coffee giant Starbucks plans to install needle disposal boxes at some locations, according to reports.
The move comes after 3,700 workers signed a petition on Coworker.org, saying they feared being exposed to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
“Employees risk getting poked, and do get poked, even when following ‘protocol’ of using gloves and tongs to dispose of used needles left in bathrooms, tampon disposal boxes, and diaper changing stations," according to the petition. "It costs almost $200 just for one round of after-exposure shots, not including other tests, shots, medications, etc. Employees have to pay out-of-pocket for this before being reimbursed until Starbucks’s company insurance kicks in.”
Starbucks employees in Seattle reported finding blood and syringes bathrooms, Business Insider reported.
“These societal issues affect us all and can sometimes place our partners (employees) in scary situations," a company spokesperson told USA TODAY. “Which is why we have protocols and resources in place to ensure our partners are out of harm’s way.”
The disposal containers will allow the public to dispose of the needles and other sharp objects, which poke holes in trash bags.
Starbucks announced last year it would allow the public to use its restrooms.
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