4 Tips for Safe Disposal of Medical Waste


Managers of healthcare facilities face many operational challenges on a daily basis. One of the often overlooked components of safety in hospitals and private practices across the globe is the correct disposal of hazardous medical waste.

Medical facilities cannot afford a breakout of infectious disease in other areas of the facility. The proper disposal of contaminated materials plays a vital role in ensuring the quarantine of pathogens.

Here are 4 tips for safe disposal of medical waste.

  1. Train Your Staff

You can’t be around to monitor your team all of the time. As a manager, you need to delegate responsibility and trust that your staff follows procedure. Training plays a critical role in establishing basic procedures in handling and disposal of medical waste. Educate your team about every step of the process, from the first contact to final destruction.

Arrange a training session that’s short and approved by the medical training authority in your region. All your staff will need to attend the course, with absentees receiving a follow-up training session as soon after the original training date as possible.

Schedule a training refresher course for once a year for all employees and create an operations manual for new employees.

  1. Store Waste Securely

It’s vital to respect the entire chain of custody involved in the handling and disposal of medical waste. Track, log and classify every step of the disposal process. From first contact where the waste is bagged, tagged, and placed in labeled disposal containers, to final disposal.

If there’s any contamination, or cross-contamination during the disposal process, your staff need to have the training to identify cross-contaminated items, ear-marking them for disposal as well. Categorizing and labeling your medical waste ensures that you know where the waste is at any stage of the disposal system.

  1. Separate Pharmaceutical and General Medical waste

Disposing of potentially biohazardous waste is a very different process to throwing out a trash can from the reception area. Therefore; the separation and classification of waste are an essential means of avoiding incorrect disposal.

The costs involved with disposing of hazardous materials like sharps disposal is far more significant than conventional pharmaceutical materials, or even regular medical waste like examination gloves. Check more procedures involved with the identification, classification, organization, and regulation involved in your medical waste disposal operations manual.

  1. Contract Professionals

While it’s possible to train your staff in the correct procedure of handling medical waste, the final stage of disposal is beyond your control. Removing the waste from your premises to its final resting place is a responsibility best left to professional contractors. Make sure your contractor meets all regulation guidelines with the safe disposal of hazardous medical and pharmaceutical materials. Include the contractor in your annual services audit and make sure they are living up to their disposal commitments.

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