The world of medical waste disposal is not one that most people have much insight into. Maybe you’ve seen a medical waste disposal team on one of your favourite crime dramas on tv, or perhaps you’ve seen a medical waste disposal unit driving around the streets but you’ve never known how or what exactly goes on. And while we all hope and trust that medical waste is properly disposed of, with so many steps in medical waste management, occasionally some things fall through the cracks.
We’ve complied a list of some of the most common medical waste violations, traps and inadequacies that we at Sanpro Waste make sure to avoid.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest medical waste disposal violations we’ve seen out there is improper employee training. There is a lot to know in the world of medical waste and it takes a lot of dedicated hours from both the employer and employee to ensure that all the information is passed and received.
There are strict regulations that all employees must follow and those are new to the field should be properly and rigorously trained under the Occupational Health and Safety Administration standards. Mishandling of medical waste due to lack of training is a common violation and one that should be eradicated with proper employer training.
The next violation that occurs is improper management of containers. Simply put, these transgressions include using incorrect containers for waste; incorrect labelling including recording the wrong date or the wrong contents; improper use and handling of containers.
It is of the utmost importance that employees are diligent when it comes to managing medical waste containers by ensuring that they are labelled properly, that they are closed and sealed after use and that containers are inspected for faults.
Another violation we have seen is improper waste segregation. We’ve all been guilty of throwing aluminum in the glass jar bin, or letting some plastic wrap find it’s way into the compost bin but with medical waste disposal, the stakes are much higher. Medical waste can be a dangerous hazard and the problem can be compounded if waste is not properly separated. Again, this comes down to training and ensuring that employees are able to easily identify what hazardous materials are and where they belong.
Medical waste has to eventually leave the facility and this leads us to our next violation, improper transportation. Like every link in the medical waste disposal chain, transportation is just as important as any other step and employers and employees should practice strict diligence when transporting material that is a biohazard.
Transporting medical waste is an are where many violations can occur. Some violations might be a result of a poor job done getting the waste to that point, using faulty containers that are mislabelled for example. In transporting, one might find that the vehicle requirements are not being met, whether it is in temperature control or a failure to properly disinfect the units once they’ve finished their route. Diligent records need also be kept and as with anything humans do, there is a chance for error.
As you can see, medical waste disposal is a serious and somewhat complicated undertaking, and there are many steps along the way where the process could break down. There are government regulations that exist as a strict framework to guide facilities along the way but it truly comes down to a high standard of excellence in training and communication, otherwise, you can expect to have sometimes crippling fines, but all for good reason.
At Sanpro Waste Disposal, we set the bar extremely high and are very proud of the level of professionalism and diligence for which we strive for, and maintain.