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Medical Waste Disposal Guide: Bloodborne Pathogens & Airborne Diseases

Posted on 09/02/2017 by Advanced Bio in Blog

Within medical workplaces, there are many guidelines and regulations to which all staff must adhere. Especially regarding medical waste, pharmaceutical waste, dental waste and other biohazard waste, these regulations are into place to protect employees and patients and to prevent the spread of potentially harmful pathogens and diseases.

Medical facilities, pharmaceutical companies, dental practices and other facilities that produce biohazard waste have specific standards in place that follow the unique needs of each company. Each facility generates medical and biohazard waste specific to that facility; while staff members must always adhere to state and federal regulations, it’s important to first understand why these measures are put into place and what types of diseases and contaminates exist in the first place. Our company specializes in cleaning up crime scenes and other hazardous situations, so we’re exposed to these concerns on a daily basis. Below is information about bloodborne pathogens and airborne diseases:

Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens are potentially dangerous and infectious pathogens found in human blood. They are microorganisms that can cause many types of very dangerous diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), various types of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Ebola and other types of viral hemorrhagic fevers and more. These diseases can be transmitted via direct blood contact or through sharps such as needles and syringes. Needles are the most common way a bloodborne pathogen is spread, especially in the medical world, as needles are used in generally all specializations and practices.

Workers in medical facilities are at great risk for bloodborne pathogens. People in other industries are also at risk, such as housekeeping professionals, first aid specialists, nurses, EMTs and medical waste cleanup companies. Professionals in these professions should be recipients of bloodborne pathogen training. It is imperative that any medical waste disposal company consists of employees completely trained in the standards, practices, rules and regulations of bloodborne pathogen decontamination.

Bloodborne Pathogen Control

All employers must follow state and federal regulations regarding bloodborne pathogen control. This means that to begin with, there must be an exposure control plan and sufficient training within each facility to educate all staff of proper precautions and procedures. All employers must train and educate staff to use the following properly:

  • personal protective clothing & equipment
  • any medical surveillance
  • vaccinations and other needle types
  • labels

When any of the above is not used correctly or not disposed of in the proper manner, people are at great risk of exposure. First, exposure must be limited. Second, devices must be used in a proper and safe manner. Third, all contaminates and sharps must be disposed of properly and in a manner that follows laws and regulations.

Airborne Diseases

Medical facilities, dental practices, pharmaceutical companies and other biological facilities are also at risk for airborne diseases, so each person that might possibly be exposed to an airborne disease needs to be fully trained and compliant with all safety and protection regulations. Airborne diseases are spread when a particle is brought into the air via sneezing, coughing, blowing the nose, talking, spitting or expulsion. Airborne diseases include but are not limited to the following:

  • Chicken pox
  • Spinal Meningitis
  • Ebola
  • Influenza
  • Measles
  • Smallpox
  • Tuberculosis

Airborne diseases affect a person when an infected particle reaches a person’s mouth, nose, open wound or needle puncture.

Airborne Disease Control

Airborne diseases are generally under control when professionals within danger of exposure are sufficiently protected. In addition, cleaning standards must be set into place and followed to prevent the spread of disease, such as washing hands regularly and disposing of all materials that could have been affected (such as tissue, cotton balls, medical masks, etc.) in designated biohazard waste receptacles. All biohazard waste bins must be labeled.

Phoenix Medical Waste Solutions

Each medical facility has certain standards set into place by law that must be followed to reduce the spread of contaminates, but within each specialized practice are just as specialized medical waste disposal needs. Medical labs that focus on blood, for example, are going to have needs different than that of a dentist. A Phoenix medical waste disposal company is trained and certified to handle all types of medical waste and biohazard waste. Biological waste disposal companies can also train medical, dental and pharmaceutical staff what procedures are in place regarding the treatment of sharps and medical contaminates, the protection and safety regulations that must be met and the disposal techniques that must be followed to ensure safe and proper disposal. A Phoenix med waste business is also certified to transport this waste (following all transport guidelines) to designated biohazard waste facilities.

You never want your company to experience the spread of bloodborne pathogens or airborne diseases – especially as a result of uneducated or careless mannerisms. Professionals have the right to a safe workplace, so employers need to train staff of important procedures and precautions. If you need aid regarding medical waste treatment, med waste disposal and med waste decontamination, give us a call to learn more today.