Medical Waste Management Companies—6 Hiring Errors of Doctors’ Offices

Medical Waste Management Companies—6 Hiring Errors of Doctors’ Offices

g from a list of medical waste management companies can be daunting for a doctor’s office. After all, it’s imperative to pick a company that’s qualified, experienced, and reputable. If the company you choose makes an error with your generated waste, it could come back to you, meaning you’d be financially liable. Because this is such an important decision, here are six common mistakes to avoid when your doctor’s office is looking to hire a medical waste management company.

6 Common Mistakes When Doctors’ Offices Hire Medical Waste Management Companies

  1. Not Checking the Permits, Insurance, and Licenses of the Waste Management Company

These kinds of companies need specific licenses and permits to handle, transport, and dispose of certain waste. Make sure that whatever company you choose to work with is legally able to handle every time of waste you produce. (For example, if a company is going to manage hazardous materials, they will need a specific hazardous waste permit.)

If they don’t have adequate insurance to deal with an accident, you could end up taking on that financial burden. In this way, one simple question could end up saving your office an incredible amount of money!

  1. Not Asking about the Paperwork

The paperwork associated with every shipment (whether that’s a shipping manifest, a bill of lading, or something else) is your proof you are in full compliance with all state, local, and federal laws related to your waste disposal. If you’re ever subject to an audit, you must produce this paperwork to prove your compliance.

One of the biggest mistakes doctors’ offices make is not ensuring the company they choose to work with is fully versed in this paperwork. Whatever company you select needs to know the paperwork of the medical waste disposal industry inside and out—and follow the letter of the law with every shipment.

  1. Failing to Select a Full-Service Waste Company

It’s common for doctors’ offices to have varying waste needs. If the office is particularly busy during a certain part of the year and less busy during the other months, you want a company that is flexible enough to scale up and down with you. This way, you don’t have to spend the time, money, and energy to find, vet, and work with multiple companies. Rather, you can have the convenience (and money saving) of working with one trusted company.

You should also lean toward full-service waste companies if you think your doctor’s office is ever going to grow its business. If, down the line, you need document destruction or annual OSHA training, it’s easy and cost effective to work with the company you already know and trust.

  1. Minimizing the Importance of Customer Service in the Medical Waste Disposal Industry

 

Doctors’ offices don’t always immediately think of customer service as a necessity when hiring this type of company, but reputable, knowledgeable, reliable customer service can make a world of difference! If you have questions or need an immediate waste pickup, you want a company that you can easily get a hold of—and who can provide accurate answers to your questions.

To ascertain a company’s level of service, request multiple testimonials and read online reviews from their existing customer base.

 

  1. Selecting an Inflexible Company

Especially if you’re a growing practice, you want a company that is flexible. Some months you might need multiple pickups; others you’ll only need one. Your company should be able to work with you to accommodate this fluctuation.

No matter how many pickups you need, the company should be prompt and professional and send drivers who are trained, properly uniformed, and courteous.

  1. Agreeing to a Lengthy Waste Management Contract

Waste management contracts are often multiyear deals that lock you into a high monthly fee. They can be difficult to get out of without paying extensive early termination fees, and they often lead to overpaying every month, since you are essentially being charged for a host of services, only some of which you actually need and use. You also have to be wary of the exact wording of some contracts, as companies can raise your rates on you, and since you’ve already signed, you’re obligated to pay that higher fee.

The preferable system is a waste management service agreement. This isn’t a contract, so you aren’t locked in, and you only pay for what you use in any given month. This allows you to essentially “test” a company. If you’re not happy after a few trial months, you can simply move on to another company, without having to worry about being contractually bound to the first.

For more information about the biggest mistakes to avoid when selecting your next medical waste management company, reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services today!

Advantages of Using a Full-Service Waste Management Company

Advantages of Using a Full-Service Waste Management Company

If you work in the medical field or manufacturing industry, you likely generate waste that needs to be containerized, shipped, and transported according to strict regulations. Whether it’s biomedical waste (red bag waste) or hazardous materials, this waste can’t simply be dumped in the garbage or down the drain. If you do deal with this waste in your profession and you contact a waste management company to help handle its proper treatment, consider the benefits of working with a full-service outfit.

Important Advantages of Using a Full-Service Waste Management Company

You’re Covered for Whatever Type of Waste You Generate

Within the waste management industry, some of the categories of waste include:

Especially when it comes to hazardous, nonhazardous, and regulated medical waste, if you produce one type of this waste, it’s likely you’ll also be generating the other types. For example, in the medical arena, if you’re disposing of expired medications, some of those hazardous, and some are not. Therefore, you’re dealing with two different categories right there—hazardous waste and nonhazardous waste.

If you choose to work with a full-service waste management company, you can use one company you know and trust to deal with all your generated waste. You don’t have to worry about finding multiple reputable companies, and you don’t have to deal with the logistics of juggling those companies.

Diversity within the Industry Leads to Experience

Full-service outfits provide a wide range of waste management-related services, and being involved in all those steps of the process exposes the company to the rules and regulations that govern each step.

Working with companies that have experience identifying waste, transporting waste, filling out manifests and/or bills of lading, and more means that company knows waste management inside and out—from every level and at every step.

This kind of expertise can be invaluable to your business. If you have questions about any step in the waste management process, you’re going to have access to highly trained, professional, experienced workers who can use firsthand knowledge to address those issues or concerns.

Turnkey Service and Its Benefits

Full-service waste management companies offer turnkey service. This means they can walk you through every step of waste management and service all your environmental needs. From waste identification to document shredding (or document destruction) to OSHA compliance training, a turnkey service does it all.

You, therefore, only have to manage working with one company rather than multiple outfits, which can quickly become inefficient. Working with one reputable company can also be more cost effective, as you’re only paying one fee rather than many fees to many companies.

More Personalized Approach to Service

When working with a large company, it’s more likely you’re going to get generic information if you call for assistance. Rather than trying to solve a problem specific to your industry, you could just receive surface-level advice.

However, if you ask your full-service company (who knows you and your business), you’re more likely to get individualized attention.

Especially if you’re new to the industry, having a company tell you to create a profile before you ship isn’t going to be meaningful. It’s vastly preferential to have a full-service company who can come out and either perform the profile or walk you through and explain every step of that process. It’s a more interactive experience that gives you real insight your industry’s proper practices.

Liability Issues

Regardless of what waste company you work with, the liability and responsibility for that waste rests with the generator. Even if the waste is out of your hands (being transported by a waste management company or awaiting treatment at a medical waste treatment facility), you are still singularly responsible for that waste.

That is why choosing the right waste management company is so important. If the company you choose does not abide by current regulations and mishandles or improperly disposes of the waste, that transporter can be held responsible—but so can you. Depending on circumstances, this can mean fines or even more serious consequences.

A full-service company is more likely to be properly insured and permitted and make smart, legal decisions with your waste.

For more information about how full-service waste management companies can help your business, please contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services a full-servcie waste company located in Atlanta, Georgia.

Manage Pharmaceutical Waste—4-Step Blueprint for Healthcare Facilities

Manage Pharmaceutical Waste—4-Step Blueprint for Healthcare Facilities

Pharmaceutical waste is one waste stream that has historically not been dealt with in the proper manner. Various healthcare facilities have been lax about proper disposal, but regulations (and fines) are only going to get more stringent. It’s important, therefore, that every healthcare facility has a clear, outlined step-by-step plan in place for proper pharmacy waste disposal.

Pharmacy Waste Management: 4 Steps Every Healthcare Facility Should Know

  1. Get Educated about Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

The first—and arguably most important—step is simply to get educated about what is expected of your healthcare facility in order to be fully compliant. You and everyone at your facility need to understand that pharmaceutical waste cannot go in the standard trash, be dumped down the sink, or flushed down the toilet. All pharmacy waste, including pharmaceutical samples, must be specially and properly dealt with.

Perhaps the largest offense in this regard is putting expired medications or samples into your red bag medical waste. This is against policy, but it’s not just about potentially getting handed down a fine. It’s actually unsafe.

All red bag waste is treated through an autoclaving process. This is essentially a sterilization machine that uses 300-degree steam to treat regulated medical waste. Whether your expired pharmaceuticals are hazardous or nonhazardous waste, it’s still dangerous to treat them via a medical waste autoclave because they’ll remain unsafe for disposal, even after this treatment.

Failure to comply with these kinds of regulations could result in EPA fines. And it doesn’t matter why you’re not in compliance. Some people think they won’t get caught; others genuinely didn’t know they’re violating any laws. Either way—willful or not, small clinic or massive hospital—you can get slapped with a hefty EPA fine if you’re not careful.

  1. Correctly Identify Your Pharmaceutical Waste

Once you know the proper procedure, all that’s left is to properly execute that procedure. This means correctly doing the first step: identification. After all, you can’t properly dispose of something if you don’t know what type of waste stream you’re actually dealing with.

  1. Correctly Segregate Your Pharmacy Waste

Once everything is accurately identified, it’s time to actually segregate and store those waste types in their assigned pharmaceutical waste containers, which should be Department of Transportation (DOT) certified. For many healthcare facilities, such as small to midsize doctors’ offices, they are really not going to produce that much of this kind of waste in a given year. Doing everything by the book and to the letter is going to cost a bit, but think of this small up-front fee like an insurance policy that protects you against the big, potentially facility-closing consequences.

  1. Contact a Reputable Waste Management Company

People are getting fined for noncompliance every day, and those fines are only going to get heftier as the laws are more strictly enforced. This means healthcare facilities need to face a simple truth: if they don’t spend money to learn how to dispose of expired medication and then follow through on that expired medication disposal, they could be looking at debilitating fines.

It’s essential, therefore, to work with a qualified, experienced, reputable waste management company. Again, think of this expense more like an insurance policy. You have to spend a little to work with a company and avoid the big financial penalty if and when you’re eventually caught doing the wrong thing.

To ensure you’re working with somebody reputable in your area, double-check that the company has all necessary insurance and permitting, as well as a sterling compliance history. They should provide all the necessary paperwork (to prove your compliance in the event of an audit) and general education and guidance about the ins and outs of this kind of waste disposal when you have questions.

For more information about how to properly deal with any and all pharmacy waste issues, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.

Waste Management Company Requirements to Pick up Dry Cleaning Waste

Waste Management Company Requirements to Pick up Dry Cleaning Waste

Within the hazardous waste management industry, dry cleaning is a very specialized, niche market. The waste generated in that business is deemed hazardous, though, and several federal bodies highly regulate its handling, shipping, and treatment. If you’re in the dry cleaning industry and you’re working with a waste management company, it’s your responsibility to ensure that company has undergone and received the proper training, permitting, and insurance to safely, legally, and effectively handle dry cleaning waste.

Training and Permits

In order to legally handle hazardous materials, which a dry cleaning company does generate, the waste management employees must have their hazmat licenses. The drivers are also supposed to be certified as hazmat transporters.

It’s important to note this is different than commodity transporters. For example, a commodity transporter can legally transport hazardous paint. However, once that paint is used or deemed waste, you need to be a hazmat transporter to legally move it. It’s a somewhat confusing distinction, but it’s important to make sure your waste management drivers are hazmat transporters rather than commodity transporters.

Additionally, drivers need to have an eight-hour hazmat refresher course every year. Upon completion of this refresher course, the driver will receive an updated certificate to acknowledge completion of that course.

If you’re unsure about the credibility of a waste management company, ask about these trainings to make sure their employees are held to that standard. If desired, you could even ask to see those certificates to ensure the training was done.

Insurance

One important insurance-related fact that some dry cleaners overlook is that their waste management companies need insurance not only for their states but all states the hazardous material is going to be transported through.

A reputable hazardous materials management company should also have several types of insurance:

  • General liability
  • Pollution liability insurance (in case of spills or accidents)
  • Automotive insurance on all trucks or vehicles
  • Workers’ compensation

Look for companies that carry at least $5 million of insurance. Some smaller companies only carry $1 million because that’s the minimum required. However, if you go with a company that’s only insured to the minimum and there is an accident, once that limited liability insurance is used, you—the generator of the waste—are then liable for all expenses above and beyond what the insurance covered.

In this way, you might save a few hundred dollars to ship with a smaller company, but insurance is a huge consideration when dealing with hazardous waste. Should the unexpected happen, you could end up paying tremendous sums of money if your waste management company’s insurance is inadequate.

Look for Experience

As with any generated hazardous waste, you are ultimately responsible for that waste from the cradle to the grave. At every stage in that waste’s journey from your facility to the landfill, you are responsible should something go wrong.

Even when the waste is shipped away from your dry cleaning business—on its way to a treatment facility or even in the treatment facility—you are still liable.

This is why managing the waste properly and partnering with a reputable, experienced waste management company are critically important. If your waste managers don’t abide by hazardous waste regulations or bring the waste to a facility that can’t properly or legally treat it, you’re setting your dry cleaning business up to be hit with hefty fines.

Follow Up with Paperwork

Because you are still liable for that waste, don’t just assume it arrived safely at the treatment facility. A hazardous material manifest should accompany the drums when shipped, and the treatment facility should send back a copy of that paperwork to verify the drums were safely received. If you don’t receive that paperwork within thirty-five days, you should call to follow up. Whether the manifest got lost in the mail or the facility never sent it, you need to do everything possible to keep track of where your waste is—even when it’s offsite.

For more information about what permitting, training, and insurance are required to handle, transport, and properly dispose of dry cleaning waste, please contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a full service hazardous waste management company.

Why Kentucky Manufacturers Must Have a Hazardous Waste Management Plan

Why Kentucky Manufacturers Must Have a Hazardous Waste Management Plan

If your Kentucky-based manufacturer produces hazardous materials, it’s crucial that you have (and enforce) a hazardous waste management plan. What exactly does this document matter, though, and what do businesses in Kentucky need to be particularly aware of?

Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans: What Your Kentucky Manufacturer Needs to Know

What Is a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan?

A contingency plan is a written document that details the specifics of what your manufacturer would do in the event of any spill, accident, or mishap involving the hazardous waste generated at that facility. Because no one can foresee when an accident is going to happen, it’s vital that this document is in place as soon as possible.

Being prepared is the best way to combat the negative effects of an accident, and a contingency plan can help you do just that.

Safety Considerations and Your Waste Management Plan

It’s no surprise that hazardous waste safety is an important issue. Whether you’re storing or transporting hazardous waste, you need to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Failing to be proactive in your accident preparedness could have serious safety ramifications for everyone involved: the people at your manufacturing facility, the first responders who arrive for cleanup, the people who come in contact with subsequently contaminated soil or water, and more.

As a generator of hazardous material, you have an obligation to put the necessary time, effort, and thought into your waste management plans in order to ensure the greatest level of safety.

Waste Management Plans and Financial Consequences

If your plans are nonexistent, incorrect, outdated, or incomplete, you put your company at risk of facing serious fines. (This issue will usually become apparent during a hazardous waste audit of your facility.)

While lacking this plan is considered one of the more minor infractions, having it on your record during an audit makes you more susceptible to other fines and violations, and facing those kinds of financial ramifications can be devastating for small to midrange manufacturers.

Questions? Reach Out to Hazardous Waste Management Companies

With so many safety and financial factors riding on this plan, it’s important to reach out if you feel your Kentucky-based manufacturer needs help. If you’re confused about what this plan should include or have concerns about your compliance, contact several waste management companies. Reputable businesses should be able to help walk you through what you need and point you in the right direction if there are serious deficiencies in your current plan.

Give preference to companies that service the Kentucky area, as they should be well versed in the state-level obligations your manufacturer must comply with.

Special Considerations for Kentucky Manufacturers

Kentucky does not significantly differ from other states in terms of what’s required in this document. Remember, though, to avoid fines, your facility must be compliant with both federal-level regulations and state-level regulations, so take that into account whenever creating your plan.

Because Kentucky has such a large manufacturing base, a lot of businesses are required to have this document, so doing it correctly and thoroughly is particularly important in this state.

For more information about these hazardous waste management plans and how they affect your Kentucky-based business, feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services today!

5 Steps—Hiring the Right Hazardous Waste Management Company in Florida

5 Steps—Hiring the Right Hazardous Waste Management Company in Florida

Finding a reputable, experienced hazardous waste management company is of the utmost importance for any Florida-based business that generates this waste type. It’s not always easy or intuitive, however, to know how to go about finding that company. With that in mind, all companies within Florida that generate hazardous materials can follow these five steps to help minimize the confusion.

How to Find Reputable Hazardous Waste Management Companies in 5 Steps

Step 1: Check their insurance and permits.

When vetting waste management companies, one of the most important steps you should take early in this process is confirming the company’s insurance and permits.

In terms of insurance, they should carry enough coverage to adequately clean up any potential accident or spill involving the generated waste. While $1 million is the required minimum, give preference to companies that offer even more coverage. This will help ensure your company isn’t financially liable to cover the difference if the insurance coverage isn’t extensive enough.

When it comes to permits, the company needs to be specifically permitted for every waste type they are going to be handling. For example, if your Florida-based company produces both hazardous medical waste as well as nonhazardous waste, any company you choose must be permitted to handle each of these specific types of waste.

Remember, just because you’re in Florida, doesn’t mean Florida permits are the only ones required. Any company you choose needs to be permitted for each and every state the waste will be transported through. Therefore, if the company plans to cross state lines with your waste, they must be permitted and compliant with the regulations of all those states.

Step 2: Verify the employees’ proper training.

The employees of hazardous waste management companies should always be adequately trained for the jobs they must complete. This means all drivers have undergone proper DOT training, and anyone who is going to be handling the paperwork of your shipment (including the hazardous waste manifest) has all the training necessary to accurately and legally complete these documents.

Improper training can lead to accidents or noncompliance, and because you, as the generator of the waste, assume cradle to grave liability, this can all come back to you—in terms of fines or financial or legal responsibility. This is a huge reason why choosing the right company is so important!

Step 3: Put a premium on customer service.

When dealing with hazardous material, it’s crucial you can get your questions answered in a timely and accurate manner. In many cases, this is actually a matter of health and safety.

Say, for example, you have questions about how to properly store your hazardous waste and what materials need to be segregated. If your waste management company doesn’t get back to you—or gives you the wrong information—this could directly lead to an accident at your facility.

A good company will be knowledgeable enough about the waste management industry to know the regulations and rules (in Florida and all other states the waste will travel through), and they will put an emphasis on getting back to you in a timely way.

Again, this reduces your chances of being hit with fines for noncompliance or dealing with the safety-related and legal fallout of an accident at your facility.

Step 4: Seek out reviews, testimonials, and violations.

Once you have a company you’re interested in, a quick online search can reveal a lot of critical information. Any firsthand reviews or testimonials will let you know how their customers feel about them and the level of service they provide, and you can also find a record of their recent violations (if any). All this information can help you decide whether the company is right for you.

Step 5: Get quotes from multiple hazardous waste management companies.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, get quotes from three companies. This will help you throw out any price outliers (either too high or suspiciously low). Remember, you want the best value, which does not automatically mean the lowest price.

Waste Management Tips: Go Full Service

If your Florida business is really looking to maximize what you get out of your company, consider choosing a full-service operation. This allows you to work with one company that you know and trust who can handle all your waste-related needs, from non-hazardous waste disposal to lab packs to whatever else your Florida-based business needs.

By working with one company, you often save money upfront, but it also saves you the time and hassle of having to find, vet, coordinate, and schedule with multiple companies.

For more information about how to pick the right waste management company that services the Florida area, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services today!