Tag Archives: disposing medical waste

High Tech Medical Equipment In Surgery Centers

Medical Waste Disposal for Surgery Centers

When In Doubt, Don’t Throw it Out in a Red Bag

Surgery center administrators have financial reasons behind managing medical waste disposal. Allowing employees to toss the remains of lunch, newspapers and other trash into red bags is not dangerous per say, but it does end up costing you more money in plastic bags and pick-ups. There are other items that could cost you money in fines if found inside a red bag, and in some cases could even land you in jail.

Medical Waste Versus Hazardous Materials

Untrained surgery center personnel may not completely understand what medical waste is, or how it differs from certain hazardous waste. Since it is obviously being treated differently due to the red bag, containers and stickers, they wrongly assume that these containers are acceptable for any type of questionable garbage. This is not only a costly mistake to make, it is one that could have a severe negative impact on the environment.

If your surgery center generates or handles any type of hazardous products, employees must be trained on their proper disposal. This starts by identifying what the hazardous products are, and then devising a plan for their removal from your surgery center without being mixed with the biological waste.

Identifying Hazardous Waste in a Surgery Center

All hazardous waste is prohibited from being left inside of a medical waste container, either red bags or a plastic sharps box. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Formaldehyde products
  • Batteries of any kind, including those used for cell phones
  • Florescent light bulbs
  • Any device that contains mercury
  • Certain chemicals such as acids or ammonia
  • Any container that has a posted hazardous warning sign

It is extremely important that all employees working inside of your surgery center understand the importance of separating hazardous from any biological waste. The methods used to eliminate biological waste and reduce them to a form that is not harmful to the environment are not the same as those used for hazardous waste products. By ignoring these restrictions you could be putting the health of others in serious risk.

What to Do With Hazardous Waste Products

The correct procedures for hazardous waste will differ depending on the type. If you use a hazardous product regularly in your center, talk with your medical waste disposal company to devise a solution for its safe removal from the facility. School all employees on what is appropriate for red bags, sharps containers and other biological waste receptacles, and instruct them to ask if they are unsure about any item.

OSHA and the EPA are very invested in what a surgery center is doing with their waste. Avoid getting caught having to pay hefty fines by ensuring all of your staff members know exactly what is not allowed inside of a red bag.

Medical Waste Disposal for Veterinarians

Medical Waste Disposal for Veterinarians

The Reason Behind Medical Waste Container Labeling

All medical waste generated in California is governed by the California Medical Waste Management Act (MWMA) and your local authorities. It is the MWMA which has mandated the safe labeling of medical waste containers after reports that some were being washed ashore after being dumped into the ocean. Other medical waste containers were found in landfills, posing a serious health risk to California residents.

Since then, laws have been put into place that require veterinarians and any other health facility to properly label all containers before they are transported out of the facility.

The Name, Address and Phone Number Requirement

All of the primary containers inside of a veterinarian’s office that accumulate medical waste must contain the name, address and telephone number of the facility. The only exception to this rule are bench top red bags that are used only to collect pipette tips that are non-breakable. All other medical waste must be inside of a container that contains the veterinarian’s information before it can leave the building.

By placing the name of the generator of the biological waste on the transport company, the authorities will know who to hold accountable if it is found inside of a typical trash bin, dumpster, or other inappropriate location. If found, the authorities will return the biological waste to the veterinarian office and possibly fine the establishment for unsafe handling practices.

Pre-printed labels or even bar codes that identify your veterinarian office are permitted, so long as the information is traced directly back to the source of the medical waste. Bench top red bags are excluded from this provision only when they are gathered and stored inside of a larger red bag that is labeled correctly. Medical waste disposal companies in California can assist administrators in a veterinary clinic in the proper form for filling out the labels and affixing them to the red bags, sharps containers and other containers if necessary.

In addition to having the medical waste generator’s name and contact information on the container, it also must be clearly marked as medical waste, and the type. A sharps container must be labeled as such, warning of the presence of objects which can easily pierce skin and spread bloodborne pathogens.

The Responsibility of Your Medical Waste Disposal Company

The easiest way for a veterinary office to stay compliant with the laws and avoid any fines is by partnering with a professional medical waste disposal company. They will not only help you in labeling the containers, they can evaluate your office practices, identify medical waste sources, and equip you with containers that help to make your practice more efficient – and compliant. They will also provide you with the required paperwork to show authorities that you have been acting in compliance with the law.

Labeling your medical waste containers is one step in the medical waste disposal process that you cannot miss. Armed with this knowledge you can stay in compliance with all regulations while practicing veterinary medicine safely and legally.

Medical Garbage Disposal and Management

Medical Garbage Disposal and Management

The 7 Easy Steps of Medical Garbage Management and Disposal

All healthcare facilities, regardless of their scope, that generates medical waste has a responsibility to dispose of that waste properly. Hospitals, clinics, physician offices, dental practices and more must adopt a system of packaging medical waste inside of labeled bags for transport. This may sound complicated at first, but once your employees have the 7 steps down, it will quickly become second nature in your facility:

  1. Set up medical garbage disposal containers in appropriate areas. Sharp boxes should be placed close to where needles and syringes are regularly used. Red bag containers that are corrugated boxes should be sealed on the bottom with packing tape. Those, or your plastic garbage bins, should be kept in an area where unauthorized individuals cannot easily access them.
  2. Use your red bags to line medical garbage containers. Red biohazard bags that are labeled must be placed inside of the containers. These should be large enough so that it extends the top with flaps that overlap the sides of the container. Be sure that the weight limit of the bag is in line with the amount of medical garbage expected to be generated in that area.
  3. Place only the acceptable medical garbage inside the containers. Red boxes are meant for sharps only, and your red bag containers for other medical waste. Ensure that employees are educated on other types of medical waste disposal procedures if your facility is dealing with pathological or chemotherapy waste, as these will be treated differently.
  4. When the container has reached its capacity, it is important that an individual trained in the transport of medical garbage remove it from the container wearing gloves. It should be gathered by the four sides of the bag that overlap the container. Those flaps should be twisted to seal the contents of the bag before being secured with a tie, tape or knot to prevent leaking.
  5. Check the markings on the bag to ensure they are labeled properly before applying the bar code label to the bag that is supplied by your medical garbage disposal service provider.
  6. Seal the tops of the containers used to collect the medical garbage. Clear packing tape can be used for boxes, while reusable containers will have enclosures in place to secure the lid.
  7. Transport the medical garbage to a secure location in your facility for pick-up by a licensed service provider. This area should be inaccessible to anyone who is not staffed at the facility.

Once your medical facility’s staff has gotten used to the procedures involved with medical garbage management, it will become second nature inside of your institution. Accept nothing less than full compliance with these policies from all employees, as they are critical in keeping your hospital or doctor’s office free from contagious disease.