Tag Archives: medical waste disposal services

Medical Waste Disposal for Clinics

Medical Waste Disposal for Clinics

The Importance of On-Going Training for Medical Waste Disposal in Clinics

Pathogens safety training is one of many ways to introduce medical waste disposal in a clinic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires clinics to update compliance programs annually. This provides you with the perfect opportunity to conduct employee training, identify new sources of medical waste, and institute plans on removing it safely from your facility.

Medical clinics are subject to safety inspections by OSHA. These comprehensive walk-throughs of your facility are used to identify possible hazards to employees and help you to devise plans to reduce them. Biological waste disposal for clinics is one of the areas where OSHA inspectors will expect to see full compliance with all of their regulations. This includes consistent records of on-site training programs for workers who are exposed to any medical waste.

To ensure that your clinic is always prepared for one of these inspections, all employees of your clinic should have received the following information within the last 12 months:

  • Contact information for state and local regulators of medical waste disposal
  • The standards for the safe handling of any bloodborne pathogens
  • Identification of biohazards at work
  • The safe use of personal protective devices and equipment
  • Separation of various biological waste into appropriate containers
  • Best response methods for emergency situations
  • Effective recording and reporting of biohazard issues in the workplace

Ongoing training is an essential part of maintaining the standards set forth by OSHA for the safe disposal of biological waste in a clinic. Professional medical waste disposal companies are able to help meet that standard by working closely with you and your employees to identify flaws in the plan and come up with an effective solution for rectifying them.

Voluntary Inspections of Your Clinic

One way to help ensure that your clinic will pass scrutiny from OSHA is by conducting your own inspections on a regular basis. Walk through the steps of patient care with your employees, and follow the path of any biological waste from the source until it reaches your secured safety area. Make note of any possible means of contamination from contact and come up with solutions immediately that will protect your staff and patients.

Keeping records of these self-audits along with the details of your on-going employee training will assist you in meeting the compliance standards of OSHA. They will also ask for records and manifests of your medical waste disposal practices, which should be supplied to you monthly by the removal company that you work with.

Even though you have a professional company in charge of medical waste disposal in your clinic, they are not a part of the day to day activities which generate this waste. In order to meet all OSHA standards, it is up to the clinic’s administration to ensure that all employees are being schooled on how to handle it from the point of generation until it has been successfully removed from the premises.

Medical Waste Disposal for Dental Offices

Medical Waste Disposal for Dental Offices

Identifying and Separating Medical Waste in a Dental Office

Dental offices are subject to the rules that govern medical waste disposal in the same manner that other health facilities are. It is considered a health imperative by a number of government agencies to properly dispose and remove biological waste from dental offices in a manner that is safe for employees, patients, and the general public.

Regardless of the type of dental practice you have, there will always be the presence of biological waste that must be dealt with appropriately. In order to accomplish this, it is important that you contract with a medical waste disposal company that understands the specific needs generated by the health services you provide.

The following biological waste is typically found generated at dental offices:

  • Blood containing swabs and dressings
  • Bodily fluids such as saliva
  • Sharps such as needles which are used to puncture the skin and administer anesthesia or medications
  • Metal wires that are used to affix teeth in place

All of these items are recognized for potentially containing virus or disease pathogens. In order to avoid the spread of these infections, all biological waste that is produced during dental care must be disposed of in accordance with federal and state guidelines.

Dental Exam Rooms and Biological Waste Disposal Success

The primary point of biological waste generation is in your dental exam rooms where the patient is being treated. Since treatment is confined to the dental chair, having your biological waste containers accessible should be an easy standard to implement. A small red bag container can be placed close to where procedures are performed, with a sharps container mounted on the wall for the collection of contaminated needles.

If your dental office works with dental amalgams, you will also need to take into consideration the special collection of those particles. Dental amalgam particles are a known source of the mineral mercury, which is found to be toxic for human consumption. Special care is taken to ensure that these particles are not released into the ground for fear that they could seep into reservoirs that are meant for drinking water.

Any scrap amalgam that is produced cannot be treated with regular medical waste. If present when autoclaved, it will present an immediate health hazard when the door is open. Dental work by-products that may contain this substance must be separated at the source and specially marked for its proper disposal.

Disposing of Extracted Teeth in a Dental Office

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has defined teeth as a bloodborne pathogen, and subjects them to the same standards as other medical waste in a dental office. They are potentially infectious and should immediately be placed inside of a medical waste container to be disposed of with other biological materials. The only exception are teeth that have been extracted and contain an amalgam filling. These should be disposed of in a container that is clearly marked for “scrap amalgam” only.

Medical waste disposal for dental offices can become complicated, depending on the type of services you are providing. In order to avoid overlooking any of the regulations that pertain to your practice, it is recommended that you partner with a waste management company that is accredited by the state and knowledgeable in the special waste disposal needs of your practice.

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.

Medical Waste Disposal for Veterinarians

Medical Waste Disposal for Veterinarians

What Would a Medical Waste Disposal Inspection Look Like In Your Veterinary Clinic?

Veterinarians are held to the same stringent guidelines as all other medical assistance facilities, including the disposal of your waste products. Waste that is generated from the direct care and treatment of your animal patients cannot be treated like typical garbage. Instead, you must follow regulations set forth by OSHA, the FDA and the California State Government.

To ensure that the requirements are being met on-site, regulatory boards will conduct facility inspections. During these visits, they will observe the practices inside of your veterinarian office, follow the path of your medical waste, and check to see that all transport devices are in compliance with current regulations.

What to Expect During a Medical Waste Disposal Inspection

If you are subject to an inspection, the agents who come inside of your veterinary facility will look at:

  • Your permit that states you have registered as a facility which generates medical waste.
  • Those areas where medical waste is generated, such as the animal treatment rooms, surgery areas and containment.
  • How medical and hazardous waste is being handled inside your veterinarian office.
  • The storage containers being used.
  • The ways in which medical waste is being transported inside of your facility.
  • Your documentation for employee education on the disposal of medical and hazardous waste.
  • Your documentation showing the proper disposal of medical waste using a company that has been licensed by the state.

These inspections should not be disruptive to your veterinarian office day to day activities, barring that all of your systems are in place and documented. Veterinarians who are consistent in following the standards typically will have no trouble in passing the rigid inspection.

Disposal Documentation Required

Having your disposal documentation in a readily available file at all times will be useful in making sure that any on-site inspection is terminated quickly. Your medical waste disposal provider should be leaving you with paperwork and manifests describing the extent of the medical waste generated, where it was transported to, and in what manner was it disposed of.

What Might Get You Into Trouble During a Medical Waste Disposal Inspection

Not having the necessary documentation is one of the leading problems during these types of inspections. Not because they were not provided to the veterinarian, but because they were disposed of too early. Keep your manifests in the office for at least two years in case your office is ever put under scrutiny for medical waste disposal practices.

The second concern is having the right containers for the medical waste generated by your facility. Red bags used for biological materials need to be clearly labeled and made of a material that does not puncture or tear easily. Plastic transport boxes should also be easily accessible for the safe placement of needles and other sharps.

If you are working with a trusted medical waste disposal service provider, you will breeze through any inspection. So long as you and your employees are consistent in your practices with medical waste and its disposal, proving this to the inspectors will not pose a problem to your veterinarian office.

Medical Waste Disposal for Clinics

Medical Waste Disposal for Clinics

Do Your Clinic Workers Know What Does Not Go In the Red Bag?

When discussing medical waste disposal for clinics, a lot of emphasis is put on the red bags, and what can go inside. These seem like the ideal solution for all the medical waste that a clinic generates daily, yet there are certain items that they should not hold. Make sure that your employees are just as knowledgeable about what stays out of the red bag as they are about what needs to go inside.

Sharps Waste

Clinic workers know that needles and syringes belong in their little red boxes after use, but can overlook other sharps. Sharps medical waste is defined as being any object that has been contaminated with a pathogen or that may become contaminated with a pathogen through handling. It is also capable of penetrating or cutting skin or packing material… like a red bag. In addition to needles, sharps can include broken glass, scalpels, slides, capillary tubes and broken plastic. All of these must first go inside of a rigid medical waste container before they can be placed inside of the red bag.

Pharmaceutical Drug Waste

Drugs that meet the criteria for being a hazardous waste need to be separated from your clinic’s red bag medical waste. The best practice is to have hazardous pharmaceuticals incinerated at a state approved medical waste disposal facility. Train your staff to learn which drugs are deemed hazardous and set aside separate bins for their disposal.

Universal Garbage

It is a waste of resources to allow for everyday garbage and recyclable materials to be carried out of a clinic in red bags. This includes food scraps, packaging material, light bulbs and paper. Initiate a recycling program for non-contaminated plastics, glass and metals, and dispose of the rest with your regular garbage pick up.

Chemotherapy Equipment

While trace chemotherapy waste may go into a red bag, it must be marked appropriately for incineration. Trace chemotherapy waste is defined as having less than 3% of the original contents by weight. Empty drug vials, syringes, IV bags and tubing used for chemotherapy will all need to be separately sorted and bagged inside the clinic.

Bulk Liquids

Small quantities of liquids in stoppered vials can be placed inside of red bags, but bulk fluids may not unless they have been properly solidified first. Even then, your clinic will have to verify that the liquid is viable for red bag waste disposal. Liquid medical waste of any type should always be secured in containers specially designed to reduce the risk of leakage.

A mistake made in some clinics is the assumption that the red bags are the catch all for all of your waste. This can be a dangerous practice as well as a waste of resources. School clinic employees thoroughly on the use of red bags to ensure that yours are being used properly, and in compliance with the state and federal regulations.