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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.