Tips for the Safe Disposal of Medical Waste

The daily duties of medical practitioners are challenging and stressful. Not only are they working to find solutions to unidentified, complex problems every day, but they also need to stay on top of the most recent and current medical practices, procedures, and regulations.

Compliance with HIPAA (Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, and other industry regulations takes time and effort. Safety rules and regulations are constantly evolving, meaning practitioners (and the entire office staff) must be constantly trained. They endlessly update their skills, knowledge, and office technologies.

 In this guide, we’ll delve into essential tips and best practices for the responsible and safe disposal of medical waste. We ensure that healthcare facilities and individuals alike can navigate this critical aspect of healthcare with confidence and conscientiousness. A failure to responsibly dispose of your contaminated medical waste can result in hefty fines and possibly the loss of your practice or license. Instead, let us help ensure you’re always covered. 

Stay Up-to-Date on Training

Safe medical waste disposal training is mandatory per both OSHA and HIPAA for all employees, however, specifics on how and what to train are not specified. There is a ton to learn, but here are some core notions to be sure to touch on:

  • Create Procedures – Outline, distribute, and follow specific steps for waste disposal processes.Medical Waste Pros gives tips on the safe disposal of medical waste
  • Label – Clearly and visibly label all waste and chemical containers.
  • Categorize Waste – Stored waste needs to be classified and labeled as hazardous or non-hazardous.
  • Diagram Waste Procedures/Bins – If you store medical waste you must have a diagram showing how and where to store contaminated materials and chemicals.
  • Inspect Hazardous Waste Containers – Conduct and document weekly inspections of hazardous waste containers to ensure their integrity.
  • Use Correct Packaging – Medical waste materials need to be properly contained during storage, transport, and disposal. There are different types of packaging for common medical waste, regulated medical waste, and sharps.

Manage your Records Carefully

Both OSHA and HIPAA require you to document training sessions and methods. You should record the date of the training, the trainer’s name and qualifications, the content of the training, and the names of those who attended the session.

If you handle hazardous chemical products, standardized safety data sheets (also known as material safety data sheets) must be accessible to all employees and located near chemical storage or usage areas. These sheets catalog your chemicals and contain relevant information such as instructions and potential hazards to look out for.

Create and Document Safety Policies, Plans, and Procedures

Create safety plans and procedures and distribute them to employees so they know what to expect and what to do in case of an accident.

  • Follow the Hazard Communication Standard – This standard aligns with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). It provides a common approach to classifying, handling, and disposing of hazardous chemical information.
  • Create an Exposure Control Plan – Have a plan in case an employee is exposed to blood or OPIMs. It should be by the requirements of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (see #14) and outline how to avoid and handle exposure to infectious materials.
  • Emergency Preparedness Plan – Document and distribute a series of steps to follow in case of emergencies, including how to properly clean up in the case of a hazardous spill accident. In addition, make sure every employee knows and understands these procedures from start to finish.

Fisher & Phillips Attorneys Office created a list of the top 20 citations and violations they see in the healthcare industry—several of which pertain to improper disposal practices. You may use it as a guide so you don’t fall prey to common mistakes. However, make sure to do thorough research and always check on supplementary local and state laws.

Your medical practice is constantly running at top speed. Therefore, staying up-to-date on every medical waste procedure can cost you valuable time you don’t have. When in doubt, contact a professional.

If You Need Assistance with the Safe Disposal of Medical Waste, Medical Waste Pros Can Help!

The daily struggles of the medical world can weigh down on you. Medical Waste Pros can help take a load off. We will connect you with trained, certified professionals who know the ins and outs of medical waste disposal. Additionally, we will make sure your materials are taken care of. No matter your industry, and even if you only have a small amount of waste, we ensure its proper disposal.

Get Free, No-Obligation quotes on medical waste disposal services in your area today! Simply fill out the form or give us a call at (888) 755-6370.