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The World Health Organization has reported that around 15% of all medical waste is biohazardous and it can be infectious, radioactive, and/or toxic. Disposing of this waste properly is a critical step in keeping people and the environment safe. Biohazard waste is any waste that is or could be contaminated with potentially infectious materials that are a danger for transmission. While most of this waste is generated within the hospital environment, there are all kinds of businesses and organizations that generate biohazard waste. There are many local, state, and federal compliancy laws associated with safe handling, storage, and disposal of biohazard waste. Maintaining proper disposal, along with knowledge of all the guidelines associated with biohazard waste can be confusing for a client. Professionally trained and certified medical waste disposal companies such as Healthcare Waste Management ensure that all waste disposal complies with all laws. Costs associated with each aspect of dealing with biohazard disposal can be confusing. Making sure that charges are cost-effective is a smart manner of doing business.
Not all customers require the same services however, many services are regulated by state and federal laws depending upon quite a few variables. Complying with the laws are the responsibility of the organization generating the biohazard waste, but with the help of Healthcare Waste Management, you can receive the services that are needed while maintaining compliance.
Due to the dangers of biohazard waste, there are very specific identifiers so that all generators can segregate this waste from all non-harmful waste. Biohazard waste includes but is not limited to the categories of:
State guidelines for proper disposal of regulated medical waste may differ and a licensed medical waste disposal company such as Healthcare Waste Management will be knowledgeable on all the laws for the states that they serve. Complying with the regulations can involve several specific methods for disposal and these can affect the overall cost:
A trained and professional medical waste disposal company such as Healthcare Waste Disposal will confer with the client to offer the best rates possible. The cost is dependent upon a few variables, including compliancy with varying local, state, and federal laws. The types of services required by these laws will also affect the overall pricing paid for the disposal including:
Contaminated sharps waste: As a biohazard waste sharps must be treated first in a process called “autoclaving.” This process involves using high temperature and pressure steam to sterilize and decontaminate the biohazard waste.
Anatomical and pathological waste: Many states require that this type of waste be incinerated, however, some states require chemical treatment due to ecological concerns of burning.
Microbiological waste: Since this is often contaminated waste, it is required to be autoclaved.
Blood, blood products and Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM): While many allow these to be placed down the sanitary sewer, there may be limitations and a licensed medical waste disposal company such as Healthcare Waste Management will be educated on the specific state guidelines for the states that they serve.
Contaminated materials that can release blood or OPIM in a semi-liquid or liquid state if compressed: This type of biohazard waste also includes any item that had potentially contaminated fluids that had dried and all are incinerated, however, some states require chemical treatment due to ecological concerns of burning.
Isolation waste: is waste from a patient that is infectious with highly communicable diseases as defined by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in CDC Table 27. This waste involves anything that may have come into contact with the patient in isolation for the protection of others and all waste is incinerated, however, some states require chemical treatment due to ecological concerns of burning.
Animal waste: Most of this type of waste is incinerated however, some states require chemical treatment as an alternative due to ecological concerns of burning.
Each state has established an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) set of guidelines for the training of all staff, employees, and/or volunteers that are involved with or exposed to biohazard medical waste. In the case that a state does not have its own rules, the location will default to federal OSHA guidelines. The goal of the training is to ensure that everyone at a location that may come into contact with biohazard medical waste is knowledgeable on handling, storage, and emergency procedures in case of an accident. The cost to an organization to train internally can be exorbitant. A professional medical waste disposal company such as Healthcare Waste Management will offer online OSHA training classes for each employee level. The classes are OSHA approved and can be accommodated at the convenience of the staff.
The 1991 OSHA “Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard” was established. Training for all staff is designed to protect the over 5.6 million healthcare and related occupational workers from the risk of exposure to transmittable diseases via bloodborne pathogens. The standards include the following requirements:
While most biohazard medical waste is generated in hospitals, there are other types of organizations and companies that also create biohazard medical waste. These can include but are not limited to funeral homes, coroners, research laboratories, pharmacies, medical clinics, physician offices, dentists, tattoo parlors, and body piercing shops. Those locations that are small and large generators arrange for their OSHA-approved training to be included by professional medical waste disposal companies that offer the programs. The cost for the programs will affect the overall price paid, but it can be cost-effective when compared to trying to be educated on all of the state and federal laws for biohazard medical waste and comply with OSHA requirements themselves.
OSHA safety training is often a requirement prior to an employee being officially hired. Additional training is set for those with specifically hazardous positions and those responsible for monitoring biohazard disposal procedures. OSHA requires existing staff to have refresher training on an annual or bi-annual basis, depending upon their job duties with biohazard medical waste.
Healthcare Waste Management’s online OSHA training courses can be easily coordinated with one of our professional staff and offer the benefit of supervisory monitoring as well as certification once the course(s) are completed.
Parent page – Biohazard Waste Disposal
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