Medical Waste Management
Medical Waste Management. When you think about medical waste management, the first thing that probably comes to mind is sharps and other materials used for injections. That’s because these are some of the most challenging medical waste streams to deal with. That’s because of their risk potential of items that can puncture the skin. If sharps are handled improperly or not disposed of safely, sharps medical waste can lead to punctures, cross-contamination, or infections. The good news is that there are various ways in which you can manage your medical waste effectively and efficiently.
Medical Waste Types and Categories
When we talk about medical waste management, the first thing that comes to mind is the different types of medical waste. Here are some of the most common categories of medical waste:
- General, non-regulated waste
- Infectious waste
- Pathological waste
- Pharmaceutical waste
- Chemical waste
- Genotoxic waste
- Radioactive waste
Segregating Medical Waste
First, let’s talk about segregating your medical waste. Proper segregation of medical waste is a must. Medical waste must be segregated at the point of generation to ensure that the waste is handled, stored, transported, and ultimately rendered harmless in the proper manner. Without proper segregation the waste could be treated by an ineffective method and still pose a risk to humans, animals, and the environment. Education and knowledge of staff to know which kind of waste is identified and placed in the right container is a top priority to avoid, fines, and health and environmental risks.
If you are using color coding system to segregate your medical waste, you will have a different color of container to put each type of waste in. This is a very effective method and practice that is in place in most healthcare systems, from there the most important thing is making sure the staff knows how to properly identify the medical waste and place it in the appropriate color-coded container. Containers are required to be sturdy, leak-proof, and have the ability to be securely sealed. Employee training and education is a key component of any successful medical waste management program.
On Site Storage
Containers holding medical waste on site should be in an area that:
- Is not accessible by the public
- Is maintained at a standard temperature
- Clear from bugs, parasites, or rodents
- Cannot be in an area with patient or human traffic
- Should not be in a second story area that could have a fall allowing contents to leak
- Should be easily accessible by individuals authorized for transport
Most healthcare organizations make use of a professional, licensed and trained medical waste management company that will pick up, transport, and comply with all laws for ultimate disposal.
Treatment of Medical Waste
There are a few ways in which medical waste can be treated. Most healthcare facilities hire a medical waste management company like Bio-MED who has their own medical waste processing plant in-house to treat medical waste. In this case Bio-MED would pick up the medical waste, bring in back to their medical waste processing plant, treat it, and properly dispose of it.
Medical Waste Treatment Methods
Most medical waste is treated by one of the following methods.
- Autoclave – An autoclave uses steam and pressure to sterilize the waste.
- Microwave – Microwave disinfection can also be employed for treatment of medical wastes.
- Chemical Decontamination – Chemical Decontamination is the use of specific chemicals to render the biohazardous materials harmless.
- Incineration – Incineration is a process of burning specific types of biohazard wastes which include pathological, trace chemotherapy and non-hazardous pharmaceutical wastes.
Disposing of Medical Waste
There are many ways in which you can dispose of your medical waste. Some examples include incineration, autoclaving, and microwaving. However, because of the strict federal regulations involving incineration and the other methods of treating medical waste. Most healthcare facilities find it more cost-effective to hire that service out to a professional medical waste management company like Bio-MED Medical Waste Management. We offer a full-service medical waste management process at an economical price. Contact us today to experience the Bio-MED difference.