Tag Archives: medical waste disposal

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 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.

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 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.