Medical waste is quite different than our household waste, and is more harmful because it contains all hazardous microbes that come from admitted patients or outpatients. Obviously it’s much riskier than our regular household waste to keep it open and dump carelessly. Therefore there are strict regulations for disposing medical waste so as to prevent any harm to human health as well as environment. Here are tips that will help you ensure safe clinical waste management.
1. Follow Colour Coding
All soft clinical waste should be disposed of by first segregating it just at the point where it is produced to ensure safety. Make sure you follow the colour coding instructions in the “Safe Management of Healthcare Waste” issued by the Department of Health.
2. Correct Segregation of Waste On Site
Segregate the waste and dispose of only medical waste in the medical waste bags. Germ-free papers and instrument packaging should be sent to the general waste stream. Clinical waste disposal costs much more to your institute than the disposal of general waste. It also uses more energy.
3. Avoid Touching
All the medical waste should be disposed of in automatic lidded or foot operated unit so as to avoid touching the lid with hands and increasing the risk of spread of infection.
4. Avoid Overfilling Waste Bags
Overfilling waste bags carries the risk of tearing of bag or the waste falling out, and thereby spread of infection. Heavy waste bags also pose risk of infection to those who handle them. Keep enough space in the bag to tie it securely with a post-coded bag tie or a knot.
5. Storage of Waste
After segregating the waste properly, before handing it to the waste disposal service, store it safely in a designated room or cupboard which should be locked. You can also store it in an external wheelie bin. This way you can keep it away from the paths routinely used by patients and employees, and carries no risk of animals or children getting into it.
6. Postcode the Waste
Before your waste disposal service provider collects the waste bags, postcode all of them. This helps in tracing it.
The statutory “Duty of Care” is applicable to all those who are associated to the waste management industry. According to the Duty of Care, as you produce any controlled waste, you are responsible to check proper and correct management of the waste your organisation produces.
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