Healthcare Solutions 02 September, 2016

Hazard: Medical Waste’s Impact on Recycling and Waste Workers

Of course, hazardous medical waste is just that: hazardous. But, even after medical waste leaves your practice, it can still have a big impact outside the four walls of care settings. If not properly disposed of, medical waste can be extremely dangerous for those that dispose of it (think recycling companies, waste workers, etc.). For instance, workers could be stuck with a needle that was disposed of in the wrong container, or infection could spread if they are exposed to the contents inside medical waste bags.

Our own Selin Hoboy weighed in on this important issue recently in an article with American Recycler News. In the article, Hoboy discusses how more attention and priority has been placed on the proper management of regulated medical waste with the spread of diseases like Ebola and Zika. With nearly 15 percent of waste generated by healthcare facilities classified as hazardous material (potentially infections, toxic or radioactive), it’s essential that organizations of all sizes be aware of the waste they generate and how to dispose of it effectively.

To do this, Hoboy details key components of protecting workers and the environment, including:
  • Proper packaging techniques;
  • Safe transportation, in accordance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation; and
  • Treatment of materials once used and moving toward disposal.
“Environmental services staff, healthcare waste drivers and treatment facility operators all have to manage this material safely to avoid contact and potential exposure to life threatening diseases,” Hoboy said. “As part of their services many regulated medical waste service companies provide training and information to their customers to ensure compliance by the generators and keep their own employees safe.” For more information, read the full article here. Visit our website to see how your organization can be more proactively and effectively managing regulated medical waste.

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