Whenever you generate medical waste that necessitates special treatment before disposal, it's a good idea to be fully aware of the legal requirements and best practices related to the certificate of destruction. The possibility is always there that written evidence of your waste having been legally and correctly disposed of could be necessary in an audit situation. It's important, therefore, to know what's required of you and then follow those rules to the letter. Not doing so could result in fines—or worse.

Medical Waste Certificate of Destruction: Receive Documentation to Confirm Proper Destruction of Your Medical Waste

Hazardous Waste versus Non-hazardous Waste

Whether or not you legally need a certificate of destruction depends on what type of waste you're disposing of. If, for example, you're disposing of hazardous waste, it is required for you to obtain that destruction documentation. The facility doing the destruction should send all proper documentation to you within forty-five days.

It is standard practice for the facility to send this directly to the generator of the hazardous waste—even if that business is using a waste management company to help facilitate proper waste transport and disposal.

For non-hazardous waste, this documentation is not legally required. However, that being said, if an auditor ever wanted the certificate for any given shipment for any given reason, it's always better to be safe than sorry in those situations.

To that end, make sure your waste management company is knowledgeable and reputable enough to properly keep these records. That way, if you ever need them in the future, they'll be readily available to you.

Destructionof Medical Waste - State versus Federal Laws 

Do keep in mind that these rules are largely governed by federal law. That is, a federal body established the requirements, and these requirements then applied to every state. You are, therefore, never exempt from following those rules.

However, the state you're operating in (and any state where you waste will be transported through) matters as well. Any given state is merely required to meet the minimum federal standards. That means the state is free to enforce stricter laws.

South Carolina, for example, has more stringent requirements than many other states. It requires written proof of destruction with every shipment—regardless of the waste type. (Don't be surprised if a state even has requirements as strict as needing the name of the individual actually operating the medical waste autoclave!)

To ensure your business is in full compliance at every step of the process, it does require you checking both the state and federal guidelines. If you're at all unsure about both or either, consider asking your local medical waste management companies. They should be able to provide guidance or their services to get you up to speed and then in full compliance.

When (and How) to Seek a Medical Waste Management Company

The best approach to proper medical waste disposal protocol is to be proactive. Ensure you're doing everything right before you're confronted with the possibility of an audit.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to seek out the advice and/or services of professional waste management companies.

When looking for help, keep the following points in mind:

  • Depending on your location and the type of waste, a certificate of destruction might not be necessary. That being said, you want to work with a company that can easily and readily supply the necessary paperwork should you need it at any point in the future.
  • Be wary of any company that doesn't keep proper documentation on file. This could mean big problems for you during an audit.
  • Work with a company that's knowledgeable about the full range of paperwork. A bill of lading, for example, is going to show material was hauled away. It won't show what specific facility destroyed what specific shipment on what specific day.

Why Do Medial Waste Audits Matter?

Failing an audit can have real and sometimes dire consequences for your business. You could be liable to pay fines or have your funds cut or withdrawn. If deliberate, repeated, or egregious noncompliance is determined, there is the possibility of losing your licenses or even having the entire facility shut down.

For more information about what paperwork you need regarding destroyed waste or what to look for in a medical waste disposal company, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta business with over twenty-five years of industry experience