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5 Safe Practices for Medical Waste

Posted on 29/07/2015 by Advanced Bio in Blog

Every medical facility that generates medical waste – from pharmaceuticals to needles and from mercury-containing materials to blood – must follow the rules of their State to dispose of these potentially life-threatening materials.  Here are 5 safe practices for medical offices to follow.

  1. Put “sharps” in containers engineered for them. Sharps are anything sharp.  You see the sharps container on the walls of your doctor’s treatment rooms and you’ve probably seen a nurse dispose of a needle in one.  Sharps aren’t just needles – they are anything from lancets to glass pipettes and scalpel blades to broken glass.  They’re in the dentist’s office, too, and include root canal files and dental wires. Never put any sharp in a red bad.  Dispose of them in sharps containers.  Otherwise, they may puncture in FDA-approved, puncture resistant, properly marked sharp container.
  2. Hang on to your stuff. It’s not unknown for medical waste companies to hear a cell phone ring or the jingle of keys in a biohazardous waste container.  The fact that they’re still there is a plus because you should never risk contamination by trying to retrieve them, but check your pockets and keep personal items away from medical waste containers – especially when packaging waste for disposal.
  3. Don’t mix hazardous waste. Pharmaceutical waste should go in pharmaceutical waste containers.  Use special RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) hazardous waste containers and the mail-back program for anything containing mercury such as dental amalgam, extracted teeth, aneroid blood pressure devices, etc.  RCRA materials also include aerosols, rubbing alcohol and chemicals.
  4. Don’t move medical waste. Your office may be moving but the only person who should move medical waste is a permitted medical waste hauler.
  5. Know and follow all regulations. Overlapping agencies may all regulate part of handling medical waste.   For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires documented annual blood borne pathogens training for anyone who might be exposed to blood borne pathogens and other infectious diseases.  The Department of Transportation regulations may cover the transport of hazardous materials and also requires proper training.

Medical waste or biohazardous materials are best handled by a certified biohazard company.  They should know all the regulations in your location and help you stay in compliance.  Your medical waste disposal company should be your partner in safety!