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Whether you run a small rural clinic or a 500-bed hospital in Georgia, you need to abide by a number of overarching medical waste regulations. Outside state-specific regulations are those of the federal government. Your doctor’s office or hospital must follow the rules of both to maintain compliance. While requirements for medical waste management in a small doctor’s office are not the same as the scope as that of a large hospital, you should be aware of (and working with people who are aware of) potential similarities and differences.
An “industrial solid waste stream” can include a wide variety of substances, both hazardous and non-hazardous. So, it’s important to analyze the different types of raw materials that input your manufacturing processes, as well as what kinds of wastes they create.
While most colleges don’t typically consider themselves to be large generators of hazardous material, they do often generate it. Whether your college is dealing with chemicals associated with the aquatic center or fertilizer from the ground’s keepers, colleges produce hazardous waste that needs to be specially dealt with.
The differences between regulated medical waste and potentially hazardous medical wastes are not always easy to define. That’s why it is imperative that not only health professionals, but also housekeeping and janitorial staff, are aware of the difference between wastes that belong in the regulated or ‘non-regulated’ categories when it comes to disposal.
If you need a waste management company to assist with the disposal of your generated waste, it’s imperative that any employees handling that waste or preparing it for shipment are trained and qualified to handle associated paperwork. In particular, that means they must be trained and legally qualified to fill out either a hazardous waste manifest or a bill of lading depending on the contents of the particular waste shipment.
Those in the medical industry have more than likely heard of a medical waste autoclave. However, if you’re not directly involved in its use, you may not realize exactly what type/s of medical waste can be disposed of in an autoclave and what can’t. In fact, knowing about this process of medical waste disposal is essential in order to maintain compliance with local, state, and federal laws regarding medical waste management.
Do your staff and employees know how to identify hazardous solid waste? Do they know the difference between hazardous waste characteristics? Are they aware that hazardous solid waste that is corrosive, flammable, or potentially toxic poses a serious threat to the health and safety of humans, animals, and the environment?
Not all waste is created equal, so how can you tell when your waste falls under regulations of federal and state laws for handling, shipping, and disposal processes?
It comes as a surprise to many that hand sanitizer is considered a hazardous waste by the EPA, and it thereby requires hazardous waste management and disposal.
Hazardous waste removal processes involve numerous steps. One of the most crucial is how to select a proper and compliant hazardous waste container. This is not a one-size-fits-all process, as the right container for the job depends on factors that include the type of waste, its weight or volume, and its components.
If you generate hazardous waste in your industry, you already know you can be subject to fines for non-compliant hazardous waste disposal. The law is clear on that. If you’re not aware of the heavy costs of fines and penalties for improper hazardous waste disposal, regardless of industry, you should be.
Dealing with medical waste and transportation requires awareness, implementation of best practices, and compliance with federal, state, and local laws. With so many different types of potential medical waste streams (such as sharps, biological, infectious, pathological, pharmaceutical, etc.) and with different rules and regulations stipulating how each of those types of waste needs to be handled, it can quickly become confusing.
If your doctor’s office or hospital is a fully functioning clinic, it’s very likely you periodically need to dispose of expired medications and biohazardous waste. When it comes to disposal of expired medications, staff need to follow specific regulations and restrictions regarding such waste and what kinds of medications get disposed of and in what fashion.
Hazardous waste management isn’t only a problem for industry and manufacturing. Whole Foods, Walmart, and Macy’s are prototypical business-to-consumer enterprises. Hazardous waste disposal was likely a non-issue for their managers…until suddenly it was.
While a majority of medical waste can be classified as non-hazardous, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 15% falls into the hazardous waste category, each of which triggers a particular set of protocols for its management and disposal. In order to minimize the health risks associated with exposure to these potentially infectious materials, physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers must take every precaution when managing and disposing of all medical waste.