Tag Archives: medical sharps disposal

Medical Waste Disposal for Doctor’s Offices

7 Medical Waste Facts You Will Be Surprised to Know

There is a lot of pressure in a doctor’s office to meet OSHA regulations, especially when it comes to waste management. Not only does following these rules keep you out of trouble, it is essential to the health of the general public. Knowing what rules and regulations apply to medical waste disposal for doctor’s offices can help with that, as well as ensure that you are always in compliance:

  1. OSHA Requirements are Not the Same in Every State – OSHA is a federal agency that oversees work place safety and procedures, but the state has the authority to establish their own requirements so long as they meet or exceed those set forth by OSHA.
  2. Your Doctor’s Office Has to Keep Copies of Medical Waste Disposal – You have to be provided with signed manifests from your medical waste disposal vendor and then keep those on file in case of an audit.
  3. You Must Review Your Medical Waste Disposal Procedures Annually – You have to evaluate new procedures and devices each year to see if there are safer and more effective alternatives for your office. This should be documented and kept in your medical waste disposal files.
  4. You Can’t Store Biohazardous Waste with Other Waste – There are strict rules about the storing of medical waste in your offices before it is picked up by a licensed vendor. Be sure to know where it can be placed and what it can be kept near in order to avoid problems with OSHA.
  5. All Medical Waste Must Be Properly Labeled – Your medical waste disposal company should be able to supply your doctor’s office with the correct labels for the different types of medical waste you deal with.
  6. Some Bio-Fluids Can Go Down the Drain – You can reduce the cost of medical waste disposal in your doctor’s office by knowing which fluids are acceptable to be flushed away in a drain.
  7. Some Blood Stained Products are Acceptable as Regular Garbage – Medical waste disposal procedures are mainly in place to stop the spread of contagious disease. You can save your office money in red bags by knowing what types of medical waste is acceptable for regular trash pick up.

In the state of California, the Medical Waste Management Program is overseen by the Environmental Management Branch. In addition to enforcing OSHA regulations, they regulate the generation, handling, storage, treatment and disposal of medical waste as per the state’s Medical Waste Management Act.

Health care providers and other medical offices should make themselves aware of the recommended procedures set forth by the Medical Waste Management Program in order to remain compliant. Inspections of medical facilities is not uncommon, even on the smaller scale, in order for the state to verify that the best interest of the public is being maintained.

Avoid getting your office into trouble by staying abreast of the medical waste disposal procedures for doctor’s offices, at the state and federal level. This not only helps avoid costly fines and extra training, it allows for an extra layer of protection against illness for California residents.

Medical Sharps Disposal and Management

Selecting the Right Sharps Disposal Container For Your Facility

Accidental needle sticks are one of the biggest injury risks to workers in the medical profession. The proper disposal of sharps is meant to mitigate that risk, but only works when you have the right types of containers in the right places. Carefully evaluate your needs for sharps containers before hand to institute procedures that are effective at maintaining patient care while keeping staff members safe.

When choosing a sharps disposal system for your hospital, doctor’s office or other clinical setting, you should be looking at the following factors:

  • The layout of your facility
  • The specific procedures practiced in various rooms
  • Your protocols for patient care
  • The convenience of the attending medical staff
  • The comfort of the patients

Following the following guidelines set forth by NIOSH will assist you in finding the correct places for sharp containers in your facility; “Sharps disposal containers that are functional, accessible, secure from patient or visitor tampering (if necessary), visible, and convenient to use will decrease the risk of percutaneous sharps injury”.

Requirements for Sharps Containers in a Medical Setting

The OSHA regulations are clear when it comes to the design of sharps disposal containers. They must be closable containers made from a puncture proof material. They cannot allow for leaks from the bottom or sides and they should be labeled or color coded for easy identification. To protect patients and other non-medical personnel, these boxes must be locked and secured in place to prevent anyone from being able to access the contents inside.

In regards to their use, sharps containers must remain upright and be easily accessible in a location that a health care worker would anticipate. This could be on the wall behind a procedure table or secured to the table top. Sharps containers cannot be allowed to overfill, and must be replaced routinely with an empty one.

In settings where only one patient is seen inside of a room at a time, there is no need for more than one sharps disposal container. This changes in emergency type settings where you may need to place multiple containers strategically around the room for the convenience of your medical staff.

Put yourself in the shoes of the clinician, nurse, or physician that will be providing care to the patient to help in choosing the right location. For ideal safety and effective medical sharps disposal the container should be within arm’s reach after administering any medication or vaccination. Staff members should not have to move items out of the way to access the sharps container, or walk a long distance. The longer the used sharp is in their possession, the greater the risk of accident or harm.

Sharp containers come in various sizes to suit different needs. To optimize the placement of yours, consider asking for help from your medical waste disposal service provider. By evaluating your needs and assessing the layout of your institution, they can help you in the choosing the right types of boxes and locations for the safety of your patients.