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Top 5 Medical Waste Violations When Your Facility is Guilty

Is Your Facility Guilty Of These Common Medical Waste Violations?

In spite of the abundance of information on proper medical waste disposal and the laws that back this up, there are some public violations that people make with medical waste removal. It is an environmental and health issue that can be costly and detrimental if ignored. Not only is this compliance issue.

What Are Some Of The Top Medical Waste Violations?

Unreliable Training Of Staff

An efficient medical waste removal program is only as strong as the people who implement and follow it. Facilities employ the use of the resources available, not only because it’s the law, but a efficient program mitigates risk. Some agencies offer resources for medical waste producers to help prepare a training program.  This factors ensure the safety of workers, as well as decrease the chances of infection and contamination.

Not Proper Labeling Of Medical Waste And Biohazardous Waste Containers

Packaging includes sharps containers, plastic bags, biohazard containers, and reusable containers. Medical waste packaging and labeling in a facility that deals with regulated medical waste is the responsibility of the facility itself. Failure to comply with safe containment is both an environmental and community health issue. One that can comes with hefty fines.

Many states classify waste into sub-categorizes, such as human blood, cultures and stocks, blood products, sharps, and animal waste. Keeping types of medical waste separate and using properly marked containers is not only mandated by law. It also helps you choose how and when, not to mention whom removes the waste for you.

Failing To Plan

Every facility that produces medical waste must have a medical waste removal plan. Plans should reduce the amount of waste, ensure regulatory compliance, and strengthen infection control procedures. Not having a plan leads to discarding mistakes and risking the spread of infection.

Mishandling Of Medical Waste And Removal

Whoever signs the manifest for waste pickup must have had the proper OSHA/DOT training and knowledge behind the medical waste. If your average Joe signs for anything that involves medical waste, your facility will receive a citation for noncompliance.

Insufficient Signage

Hazardous waste needs special handling, disposal, and storage. In order to properly store and dispose of waste the EPA and DOT have requirements that must be met. Failure to post signage about restricted areas, hazardous containers, or infection control can put staff and patients at serious danger.

Failure to comply with government-mandated medical waste regulations can be a puzzling and costly experience. 
Do you want to find  a reliable medical waste management service to take care of your medical waste? Give us a call (844) 494-8222 and we’ll be happy to help!

Additional resources to help you avoid common medical waste violations & stay compliant:

  • Choosing the Right Sharps Containers for Your Facility
  • Improper Medical Waste Packaging: What You Need To Know
  • What Is NOT Considered Medical Waste?
  • Do I Need An OSHA Certification?

Medical Waste Recycling

Reduce, recycle, reuse doesn’t always apply to the medical waste field.

Reuse. Reduce. Recycle. That is the EPA’s slogan for protecting our environment, but this adage doesn’t always apply to the medical waste arena.

The Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 clearly defines items that fall under this category, including potentially infectious materials. Medical waste has a different set of instructions when it comes to disposal and reusing because of its very nature.

Whereas recycling items is certainly greener for the planet, medical waste is a bit of a gray area. Classically, medical waste is sterilized and after it disposed in a sanitary landfill. Wildlife can still access this medical waste and water can still leak into the ground, so it still poses as an environmental matter.

One of the more discussed topics in the medical waste removal field is how to process single-use medical devices and their ability to be repurposed, not so much recycled.

The term itself is a bit of a misnomer. To label a device as single-use is at the sole discretion of the producer. The FDA doesn’t exactly make it much clearer what constitutes a single-use device.  An organization that reuses a single-use device should be able to show that the device can be properly cleaned and sterilized. It also should show that the physical characteristics or quality of the device will not be compromised, and that the device stays safe and effective for the intended clinical use.

Reprocessing is severely an economic choice. Besides being just as safe as original equipment, reprocessing keeps tons of medical waste from filling community landfills and saves money for local hospitals. All evidence shows that single-use devices reprocessed in accordance with FDA’s requirements are safe and effective.

Other items that can easily be recycled are plastic items, such as IV bags, which can be melted, sterilized, and made a new.

What Take place With Medical Waste Eventually?

Every day, a comparatively large amount of potentially infectious and hazardous waste is generated in health care organizations. The organizations are like hospitals and other facilities around the world. This bio-medical waste must be prudently treated and disposed of in order. This is to avoid contamination and the spread of infectious pathogens. Therefore many health facilities and hospitals alike are supposed to follow very strict actions when collecting, disinfecting and disposing of the medical waste.

But What Take place With Medical Waste Once It Leaves The Facility?

Nontoxic Waste

The simplest nontoxic wastes are paper trash, food scraps and items like those plastic thermometer caps and medicine packaging. They are first sorted to see if anything can be recycled and reused. Lead (in protective clothing) and silver (in X-ray films) can be recycled and reused, along with materials such as cardboard and high-quality office paper. Afterwards the leftover waste goes into the landfill just like other ordinary trash. Such waste has no risk of being a health hazard and therefore the treatment and disposal methods for it are honestly basic.

Infectious Waste

Infectious wastes are blood, body fluids, needles, blades and laboratory cultures. They are next in line. Such waste is collected separately and placed inside specially marked plastic tubs that are lined with red bags to prevent leakage due to piercing. They are moved to a biohazard room for storage until they can be picked up for final disposal when the tubs are full.

Pathological Waste

Pathological wastes are organs and other body parts that have been removed from patients as well as waste from chemotherapy. This type includes the bags that held drugs that were dispensed intravenously. This waste is collected in separate containers and moved to a storage room for the next step of the process.

When the waste was appropriately collected and segregated, the tubs containing the pathological waste are picked-up in special covered vans. The reason of that to transport them to the hospital’s waste management counterparts, who will then decontaminate the waste using one of the following methods:

  • Autoclaving – uses steam at high temperatures to penetrate through the waste material and kill all the micro-organisms existed in the waste.
  • Incineration Technology – employs combustion of waste via thermal energy, converting the waste into inert material and gases.
  • Microwave Irradiation – generates high frequency waves. They cause the particles within the waste material to vibrate, generating heat from within, killing all pathogens.
  • Plasma Pyrolysis – an environmentally friendly process that changes waste into reusable byproducts through the intense heat generated by the plasma.

The waste can also be disposed of in landfills along with other regular solid waste. Nowadays healthcare facilities are also employing Waste Management Committees. They set policies and procedures to be followed and monitored to ensure proper medical waste disposal as well as compliance with legal policies.

 

3 Ways To Save On Medical Waste Removal

Part of managing medical waste is managing a budget, and while the services you’re paying for may seem clear-cut. There are some costly missteps that could lead to over payment by way of fines. These surprise items are not something one can prepare for in a yearly budget. If you want to save on medical waste removal, here are some simple steps to take.

Isolate Your Waste!

Segregate medical waste and use properly marked containers is not only good practice. It is safe and economical so that you can choose how and when, not to mention whom removes the waste for you. It’s important to note that not all medical waste can be packaged together. It is imperative to separate waste into containers for OSHA compliance.  Failing to do so can cause fines and surcharges.

How’s Your Medical Waste Frequency And Volume?

Think about investing in larger waste storage containers to lengthen time between pick ups. Everyday pickups mean transport costs. It’s better to precisely forecast your medical waste volume instead of disposing of waste too regularly.

Pay For What You Need Only

You are a smaller medical practice or a tattoo parlor that requires less frequent visits. You are probably overpaying for a monthly service contract. For smaller volume, consider call-only service so that you’re only paying for what you actually essential.

Look For Hidden Fees

Always read the fine print. Some medical waste removal organizations tack on hidden surcharges. We prides itself on transparent, straight-forward pricing with no hidden fees.

We offer a variety of services that fit your needs and budget so that there are no surprise charges or fines assessed to your business.

Just contact us and let us help you find your medical waste removal solution right now.

Sharps Containers

Sharps Containers Aren’t Just For Needles. What Else Goes In Sharps Container?

Perhaps you saw the practitioner drop the needle into a sharps container if you had blood drawn or received a vaccination at a healthcare facility. These containers are crucial for infection prevention. They are rigid, puncture-proof, and have lids that seal securely to prevent the contents from spilling out. However sharps containers aren’t just for needles. “Sharps” is the medical definition for any sharp-pointed object that can cut or puncture the skin.

What Else Is Going Into Sharps Container?

Sharps have potential disease-carrying blood or other potentially infectious materials on them, they are talented of spreading disease.

Other Examples Of Sharps Waste Includes:

  • Suture needles, butterflies, scalpel blades
  • Insulin  needles and diabetic lancets
  • Vacutainer tubes, blood collection tube  (plastic and glass)
  • Phlebotomy needles with vacutainer tube holder attached
  • IV catheters
  • Capillary tubes, both plastic and glass
  • Expired or used epinephrine auto-injectors
  • Dental wires and endodontic files

Executing a sharps safety program is the best defense against improperly using a sharps container. Institutions should look at their needle devices to determine safety and check how sharps are being handled and disposed of.

Staff should remember to never use sharps containers as regular waste receptacles. Not only is this unsafe, it is also costly for waste generators, as the waste hauler must separate the waste.

The FDA, Sharps Disposal Guidelines State announced that:

  • Used sharps can be disposed of in a sharps container
  • Sharps containers can be supplied by companies
  • Sharps containers must be inflexible and puncture-proof

What is a sharps management program. It is a proactive service to help healthcare facilities advance environmental and employee safety. Don’t be ill-prepared! Contact us to discuss a tailored sharps waste management solution to suit your organization’s needs and budget!

Medical Waste Requirements

Medical waste is often referred to as regulated medical waste, biohazardous waste, or, more merely, hazardous waste, medical waste is more known as biomedical waste.

According to DEEP, medical waste, or biomedical waste is defined as “…infectious, pathological and/or chemotherapy waste generated during the administration of medical care or the performance of medical study involving humans or animals.” State law eliminates hazardous and radioactive waste from biomedical waste.

There are very specific rules for medical waste disposal depending on the type of waste. Infectious waste, such as sharps and body fluids, must be disposed of via incineration or autoclaving. Per DEEP, chemotherapy waste and pathological waste, including human tissue must be disposed of by incineration.

Storage of medical waste is rather stringent. Medical waste must be stored away from other waste materials and only accessed by authorized transporter, personnel, and treatment facility operator.

The most unusual regulation is what happens when a patient asks to keep a limb or organ, whether it’s for religious or personal reasons. The limb or organ in question is created at a hospital, the hospital is considered “generator,” the facility bears the responsibility of proper disposal. While it’s not exactly outlawed to pass these artifacts to patients, the state endorses that healthcare specialists caution patients about disposal practices and dangers of infection.

As a medical waste generator, your best development of action is to hire a compliant medical waste disposal company to take care of the complicated disposal process. Our program helps your staff treat with new and revised procedures.

Contact today to discuss how we can help you comply with your state medical waste requirements.