Tag Archives: healthcare medical waste services

Medical Waste Disposal for Surgery Centers

Medical Waste Disposal for Surgery Centers

Are Your Medical Waste Disposal Systems Up to Speed on the New Guidelines?

Complying with medical waste disposal for surgery centers in California is complicated. On the one side you must meet the standards set forth by OSHA, and then you have the California Department Of Public Health on the other side making their own regulations. Last year, they published an updated version of the Medical Waste Management Act (MWMA), that some surgery centers are still not aware of.

To avoid fines and disruption in your surgery facility, it is imperative that you know what your new requirements for medical waste disposal are:

17630 – The Biohazard Bag

The red disposable bags used to transport most medical waste must be impervious to moisture and marked and certified by the manufacturer as having been able to pass the tests specified for tear resistance in the American Society for Testing Materials.

118275 – Pharmaceutical Waste

All non-radioactive pharmaceutical waste generated by your surgery center that are not subject to the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, and that are regulated as medical waste should be placed into a separate container marked clearly and saying “High Heat or Incineration Only”. This label should be on the lids and all sides so that the warning can be seen from any direction.

117665 – Highly Communicable Diseases

The term highly communicable disease will refer to any disease caused by organisms classified by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as risk group 3 organisms or higher.

117750 – Sharps Container

A sharps container must be a rigid puncture proof container that meets the standards of the US Food and Drug Administration as a medical device used to collect discard medical needles and other sharp materials. This box should at no time be lined with a plastic bag.

117975 – Treatment and Tracking Records

A surgery center that is required to register as a medical waste generator must maintain individual treatment and shipping documents of untreated medical waste that has been shipped offsite for a minimum of two years.

117967 – Onsite Treatment

An institution that treats medical waste on-site using steam sterilization, incineration, microwave technology or other approved methods shall train the operators of the equipment in how to use it properly. They also must be trained in the proper gear to wear and how to clean up any spills to ensure that the equipment is being used effectively. Annual training for those who operate the machinery must also be completed, and that training must be documented and kept on file for at least two years.

Having a reliable medical waste disposal company will ensure that your surgery center is up to date on the new system and procedure requirements, even if you are not. With expert advice on the best methods for proper waste disposal inside of your facility, and a professional team that can remove it, you should have no trouble in keeping your surgery center up to date and in compliance.

Medical Waste Disposal for Laboratories

Zika, Ebola and Other Virus Concerns With Medical Waste

Medical waste disposal for laboratories is often overlooked when dealing with a viral epidemic like Zika or Ebola. Yet in parts of the world where waste disposal is not regulated, those labs responsible for testing could also be inadvertently spreading the virus to others.

What Type of Medical Waste Does a Laboratory Produce?

The main concern with a medical laboratory is with the bodily fluids they collect. Whether that collection is done on-site or sent in, once their testing is complete, the vials of blood and other fluids have to be handled in a manner that does not put the workers or public at risk for any infectious disease. Complicating the issue are off-site labs where samples are taken directly from patients. These types of walk-in clinics are also creating waste with syringes and other sharps, gauze, and collection containers.

Are Medical Fluids Flushable?

Under the right circumstances, small amounts of bodily fluids can be released into a septic system. Many bloodborne viruses, like Zika, will not remain stable for long in the environment. If the sewer being used for the disposal of blood waste is a sterile one, that process should further break down any pathogens and render them harmless. Dilution with water will help to further ensure the safety of any nearby water sources. These guidelines are easily met in developed countries with advanced medical knowledge and practices, but not always practical in the third world countries where virus outbreaks are more prevalent.

Since there is evidence in some parts of the world that the Ebola virus was transferred through drinkable water sources, laboratories need to be stringent about their own medical waste disposal procedures and weigh the risk of exposure. That risk is not limited to those working directly with bodily fluids, but also to those who can be affected by an inefficient disposal system of infected bodily fluids.

Are Blood Disposal Guidelines Different in Laboratories Versus Hospitals?

All facilities must be compliant with the bloodborne pathogens standard, but the individual laboratory should be evaluated in order to institute a plan of best practices. Each facility is unique, and should be evaluated in order to institute measures that eliminate any risk of exposure in relation to the circumstance. The issuance of an exposure control plan is the responsibility of the owner, and must include specific plans for medical waste disposal in laboratories.

The requirements made by federal and local government for medical waste disposal is one of the reasons why Zika, Ebola, and other viruses remain controlled in the United States. The outbreaks seen in other countries do not occur here because of the stringency in requirements that OSHA puts forth, and individual disposal company’s stringent abidance of them. From major metropolitan hospitals to small laboratories where blood is being sent for testing, we all have a responsibility to help minimize the risk of these diseases to the public through proper medical waste disposal practices.

Medical Waste Disposal for Hospitals

Medical Waste Disposal for Hospitals

Is Green Treatment of Medical Waste a Possibility?

The greenhouse effect has been a hot topic this election year, and environmentalists have been speaking out strongly about climate change. Recycling, reusing, and sustaining have become a norm in households, schools and businesses, but little attention has been given to hospitals. Yes, specialized medical waste disposal for hospitals is necessary to protect the population from infectious disease, but there are systems that can also make it less hazardous to our planet.

Infection control is a challenge when attempting to reduce waste in a hospital and put recycling standards into place. Obviously there are hundreds of pounds of garbage generated in a hospital each day that simply cannot be recycled. This means that the medical community needs a different set of standards in order to help reduce waste and protect the environment.

Selecting Medical Waste Disposal Products that Are Environmentally Conscience

When a hospital team strategizes effective medical waste disposal in their facility, they have a higher burden than most. Not only are they looking at the safety of the environment, they must take into consideration the safety of the patient, health care workers, and the general population. This is especially true with bio-hazardous and infectious waste items.

One popular solution is in disposable plastic bags for general medical waste disposal, and the red plastic boxes for sharps. Red plastic bags can be transported using plastic carts on wheels, with lids and gaskets that prevent any spillage. These carts are easily transported to a medical waste disposal facility where they can be emptied and sanitized before being returned, the same way sharp boxes are. This eliminates the need to also dispose of boxes or tubs that were used in the transportation.

The waste inside of the red bags and sharps boxes are melted down until rendered innocuous, allowing it to be safely disposed of at a designated landfill.

Formulating an Environmentally Conscience Strategy for Medical Waste in a Hospital

Hospital administrators and staff should be evaluating their current procedures and protocols when it comes to medical waste, looking for ways to cut back on unnecessary waste. Training staff to recognize the difference between recyclable waste and medical is a start, along with ensuring that containers are in place to dispose of both where needed.

Create teams comprised of members of all areas in the hospital, including nurses involved in bedside care, surgery professionals, intake areas and your radiology department. Have them walk through the steps of their typical procedures to help identify where mistakes may be made in disposing of items that are deemed recyclable. With that knowledge you can make the appropriate containers more readily available where needed.

Staying in line with OSHA regulations while still being environmentally conscience is challenging in a hospital setting. Challenging, yet still possible. With the help of reusable containers, different sized bags and placement of recycling containers in accessible locations, you can keep a hospital in compliance and the future of the planet as priorities.