Properly disposing of all waste streams and ensuring a sound medical waste disposal system is incredibly important for any business, and that applies equally to nursing homes. Because these care centers generally produce multiple types of waste, it's especially important to create a plan with adequate forethought that ensures your legal compliance with all applicable regulations and rules.
The Importance of the Medical Waste Disposal Industry to Nursing Homes
Multiple Waste Streams and Nursing Home Waste Disposal
The first important thing for every nursing home to acknowledge is that there are very likely multiple waste types being created within that center, and each waste type requires special packaging, storage, shipment protocol, and treatment.
Some of the most common waste types within nursing homes include the following:
- Regulated medical waste (including potentially infectious disposable gloves, masks, and robes from isolation rooms).
- Expired medications and other pharmaceutical waste
If you're unsure about what types of waste your nursing home creates or if something constitutes a kind of waste that necessitates special disposal, you should contact a medical waste disposal company as soon as possible. The sooner you ensure your compliance with all federal and local laws, the sooner you can rest easy knowing your nursing home is not vulnerable to fines or other even more severe consequences.
A Good Waste Management Plan Includes OSHA Compliance Training
For nursing homes to be fully in compliance with the law, you need to ensure that every employee has gone through the OSHA trainings that are relevant to him or her.
The following are the primary required OSHA trainings:
- OSHA bloodborne pathogen training.
- HIPAA OSHA training.
- Hazcom training.
Beyond training, however, a nursing home should be in OSHA compliance in other ways, such as having all exit routes planned and using SDS sheets (formerly MSDS sheets).
Proper Regulated Medical Waste Disposal Applies to Nursing Homes
If your nursing home administers shots or any other medical procedure where blood is involved, you must follow protocol for regulated medical waste disposal. Among other things, that means placing all used sharps in sharps bins and placing anything contaminated by blood in your red bag waste.
Deviating from that protocol means you're displaying improper red bag waste disposal, leaving you open to fines and other punitive actions.
Hazardous Medical Waste Disposal Applies to Nursing Homes
Some medications are actually classified as hazardous waste, so it's vitally important that every nursing home knows what constitutes hazardous waste and knows the necessary protocol for disposing of it.
This means everything from responsibly using reverse distribution to reaching out to qualified, professional medical waste disposal companies in order to ensure compliance—from identification and storage through to shipment and treatment.
Larger nursing home facilities might also have general hazardous waste, which includes items such as maintenance-related cleaners or paint. These also require special proper disposal.
Because of these multiple potential waste streams, it is always a good idea to choose a full-service company to manage all your waste needs. By carefully selecting the right company, you can save yourself the time and hassle of navigating multiple companies to address all your pharmaceutical, regulated, and hazardous waste needs.
For more information about waste management plans and how they affect nursing homes, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.