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Biological Waste Disposal for Doctors Offices

Biological Waste Disposal for Doctor’s Offices

Is Your Doctor’s Office Complying With all Biological Waste Standards?

Biological waste disposal inside of a doctor’s office is ultimately the responsibility of the facility. Managing it can be a complicated issue, especially when trying to decipher the various regulations issued by state, local and federal governing bodies. One suggestion for a smaller doctor’s office would be to designate the packaging and transport within to a small team of employees that have been given special training for this responsibility.

Why is Biological Waste Packaging and Disposal Heavily Regulated?

A doctor’s office is responsible for the safe collection, packaging and disposal of all biological and hazardous waste generated during the course of patient care. This will include red plastic bags, sharps containers, and any other biohazardous waste. If your doctor’s office does not comply with the safe containment of biological waste and its disposal, you are potentially creating a community health issue and could face fines issued by the state and federal government.

The nature of biological waste poses a health hazard, particularly from bloodborne diseases. This is a multi-pronged issue, as there is a risk to healthcare workers, handlers, the public and the environment. For this reason, OSHA, EPA, and the FDA all have created certain guidelines for the safe transport and destruction of biological waste in doctor’s offices.

Special trash receptacles are used for the collection of biological waste at its source. Red plastic bags that are used for medical waste must be tear resistant and marked clearly to distinguish it from other trash. If using reusable containers, these must be constructed to not leak, preferably using gaskets at the opening door to prevent any leakage if accidentally overturned.

The collection of sharps is always as close as possible to the source of contamination, typically exam rooms. These are disposed of immediately in a sharps container by the health care professional who handled it. The FDA also state that a sharps container not be filled to more than 3/4 of its capacity to prevent accidental injury to an employee. Having the sharps container regularly changed out will ensure that your doctor’s offices meet that standard.

All sharps containers must also be:

  • Made using a highly durable and puncture proof plastic
  • Closeable, with a tight fitting lid that does not allow sharps placed inside to be pulled back out
  • Able to stand upright or be mounted onto a wall in an upright position
  • Leak proof, both along the bottom and sides
  • Labeled as a biological waste container containing sharp objects

Special attention is given to sharps by the FDA and OSHA because of their ability to immediately pierce the skin and introduce a bloodborne pathogen directly into the handler’s bloodstream. Ensure your doctor’s office is always in compliance with these regulations to avoid any transmission of disease to one of your healthcare employees.

Biological waste disposal for doctor’s offices is complicated, and does require a lot of work to stay up to date and compliant. Your best recourse is to work directly with a disposal company that can train your employees how to transport any biological waste from its source, and who will pick it up at your facility and transport it securely to a destination where it will safely be destroyed without harming the environment.

Medical Waste Disposal for Doctor’s Offices

Is Your Office Throwing Money Out With Your Medical Waste?

A doctor’s office faces all types of economic challenges, including being able to meet budget constraints without compromising patient care. Having an efficient medical waste disposal plan for your doctor’s office is one way in which you can cut costs. With the right plan, not only is all medical waste being safely escorted from the source to disposal, it can be done in a way that saves your office money.

One of the problems that a doctor’s office faces with medical waste is staff members not being able to correctly identify it. As a result, items which could be recycled or reused may be thrown away, causing you to waste money on items that could be salvaged. For example, sharps containers are constructed from durable plastic, and can be recycled through a professional medical waste disposal company. This eliminates the need for you to continuously purchase special containers for this type of medical waste.

Proper sizing of biological waste bags and containers will also be able to save your doctor’s office money. Medical waste is not permitted to be in your offices for extended periods of time. Make assessments at the points of collection for medical waste that help determine the right size containers in each area. The price difference for smaller red bags may not seem like much at first, but that money quickly adds up when you start to factor in the weekly need for them.

Effective methods of transporting medical waste through your offices and storing it can help with curbing the cost of cleaning crews in your office. Time and labor are saved by using wheeled carts to transport medical waste if your doctor’s office is large, or picking up red bags from various rooms at the end of the day. Staff members can receive special training from your medical waste disposal provider to help in identifying the different types of receptacles and safely securing them in your storage area until time for a pick up.

One of the most critical ways in which medical waste disposal procedures is helping doctor’s offices save money is by guaranteeing compliance with the law. Multiple government bodies oversee the disposal of biological waste, including OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency. If you or your employees were to be caught not following procedures during a routine inspection, you could be facing serious fines for your facility.

Make sure that the company handling the removal of your medical waste is providing you with monthly manifests of your pick-ups. They too must meet the standards of various government agencies, and practice safe disposal procedures for all different types of medical waste. The manifest they give you monthly should detail what was picked up at your facility, when the pick-up took place, how much medical waste was transported and how it was incinerated at the facility. With those details on file, your office should be able to avoid having to pay any fines.

Take a closer look at your system for medical waste disposal if you are trying to cut spending in your doctor’s office. With the right company to help, you could stand to save thousands of dollars every year.