Biohazard Waste Disposal: 10 Tips to Handle Biohazard Waste Safely
Biohazard Waste Disposal: 10 Tips to Handle Biohazard Waste Safely. A majority of biohazard waste is generated in the medical industry and there are local, state, and federal guidelines dictating safe handling and its final disposal. If mishandled or disposed of incorrectly, biohazard waste poses a danger to potential transmission of contagious pathogens that can harm people and the environment.
All individuals that work with or around biohazard waste should be knowledgeable of the risks, laws, and guidelines that are required to keep potential infectious transmission from occurring.
Biohazard waste is divided into specific categories:
Animal products including any part of an animal that could be potentially infectious.
Solid Lab Waste is typically laboratory dry trash, which is contaminated items such as Petri dishes, PPE gloves, etc.
Pathological/human anatomical specimens are any human body fluids or tissues that may contain pathogens.
Liquids can be liquid specimens or cultures that could contain pathogens that are biohazardous.
Sharps are any object that can pierce the skin that may contain pathogens.
Safety Tips for Handling Biohazard Waste
Employers are responsible for supplying training and standard operating procedures for the handling of biohazard waste. Be aware of and comply with these rules and the requirements that are needed.
To avoid exposure, maintain up-to-date knowledge of all PPE (personal protective equipment) that is needed in handling biohazard waste.
Wear the appropriate PPE where you may be exposed. This can include gloves, face masks, respirators, dust masks, puncture-resistant steel-toed boots, 6” lace-up boots, boot/shoe coverings, lab coats, safety glasses, and hard hats. Ensure that all areas of the skin are protected from splashes, splattering, or the potential for the skin to be exposed to infectious agents.
Never handle any medical waste of any type with your bare hands.
To avoid any accidental exposure, make sure that any personal skin abrasions or cuts are completely covered when you are on duty.
Maintain vigilance in being aware of any/all potential hazards when dealing with or handling biohazard waste.
If you encounter any item or container that is marked with the biohazard symbol or any material that appears to be biohazard waste and is not in the appropriate containers or closed properly, contact a supervisor or manager for instructions as they may wish to reject it for standard disposal procedures. This includes being proactive in confirming that all emergency equipment such as instruction manuals, showers, etc. are available for everyone that may encounter an accidental exposure.
When relocating biohazard containers, avoid physical contact even if they are in the appropriate containers. If you are required to move them, use an implement such as a shovel.
Know who to report to if an accident involving biohazard waste occurs and report immediately for emergency procedures.
Be aware when there is a possibility of a presence of medical wastes when accomplishing duties such as equipment or machinery cleaning so that you can avoid contact or infection.
Experienced and professional waste management disposal companies such as Healthcare Waste Management can be of assistance in offering information and OSHA-required training for safe handling of biohazard materials.
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