How Familiar Is Your Facility With the Categories of Biohazard Waste?
Hospital, clinic and doctor office professionals are aware that biohazard waste is classified and disposed off differently from regular waste products. Yet inside of the biohazard waste classification are four separate categories which further determine how they are disposed of. Failure to know this, and abide by the guidelines could cause harm to your employees and put the general population at risk for contamination.
Currently there are 4 separate categories of biohazard waste based on its physical form. Not every facility will produce all 4 types, but you should be aware of their existence. Each one must be identified, segregated, decontaminated and then disposed of in the appropriate manner to help minimize exposure to your employees, and reduce the risk of environmental release.
At no time should any biohazard waste be left unsecured or untreated in an area that is easily accessible to the public. Only trained personnel should be in charge of removing biohazard waste from generating areas and transporting it to your designated holding area for final disposal.
The Four Categories of Biohazard Waste Which Should Be Segregated Include:
- Solid Biohazard Waste – Any non-sharp item that has been contaminated with biological specimen material such as blood, tissue or bodily fluids. Gloves contaminated with culture material, plastics used for biological specimens, bench paper and plastic tubes of blood all fall into this category.
- Liquid Biohazard Waste – Bulk quantities of blood samples and bodily fluids that are greater than 25mls should be stored in a closed container that contains gaskets to prevent leaks. These containers should be further secured to avoid being tipped over during transport.
- Biohazardous Sharps – These are any item that is sharp enough to puncture the skin and that has come into contact with biological matter. It is important to note that while guidelines specify used needles and syringes, it is recommended that all sharps be placed in a plastic sharps container to avoid injury to personnel during transport.
- Pathological Waste – Human organs, tissues and body parts with the exception of teeth must be double bagged in biohazard bags and then stored in such a way that the release of any fluids is minimized. It is also necessary that these bags be labeled with a biohazard label.
The transport of these types of materials should be scheduled periodically throughout the day based on your facility’s needs, to a designated and secure storage area. Evaluate the amount of biohazard waste being generated, and then discuss a pick-up plan with your provider so that none is left inside of your hospital or clinic for longer than necessary.
Train all of your staff on the proper methods for disposal of any biohazard waste that applies to your medical setting. Knowing what goes where and how it should be transported will ensure that your patients, employees and the public are safe from any injury or illness that these types of waste products can cause.