The ABCs of Biohazard Waste Disposal. Biohazard waste disposal is one of the most important but less thought of parts in the healthcare industry. Medical waste disposal is a key part in maintaining a healthy environment and preventing contamination.
Here are some things to keep in mind when handling biohazardous materials:
Identify the waste – What kind of biohazardous material do you have?
Proper Segregation – Do you need to discard it with other types of waste?
Regulations – Are you meeting local, state, and federal regulations?
Sharp Objects – Are you following CDC guidelines for handling sharp objects?
OSHA – Are you following OSHA regulations for blood, other potentially infectious materials, or other bodily fluids?
State Regulations – What are your state’s regulations on medical waste disposal?
Biohazardous material you need to take extra care when handling it, according to OSHA regulations. General Universal precautions shall be observed to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. Under circumstances in which differentiation between body fluid types is difficult or impossible, all body fluids shall be considered potentially infectious materials.
Engineering and work practice controls shall be used to eliminate or minimize employee exposure. Where occupational exposure remains after institution of these controls, personal protective equipment shall also be used.
Personal Protective Equipment – When there is occupational exposure, the employer shall provide, at no cost to the employee, appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, gloves, gowns, laboratory coats, face shields or masks and eye protection, and mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, pocket masks, or other ventilation devices. Personal protective equipment will be considered “appropriate” only if it does not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials to pass through to or reach the employee’s work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time which the protective equipment will be used.
Accessibility. The employer shall ensure that appropriate personal protective equipment in the appropriate sizes is readily accessible at the worksite or is issued to employees. Hypoallergenic gloves, glove liners, powderless gloves, or other similar alternatives shall be readily accessible to those employees who are allergic to the gloves normally provided.
Masks, Eye Protection, and Face Shields. Masks in combination with eye protection devices, such as goggles or glasses with solid side shields, or chin-length face shields, shall be worn whenever splashes, spray, spatter, or droplets of blood or other potentially infectious materials may be generated and eye, nose, or mouth contamination can be reasonably anticipated.
Gowns, Aprons, and Other Protective Body Clothing. Appropriate protective clothing such as, but not limited to, gowns, aprons, lab coats, clinic jackets, or similar outer garments shall be worn in occupational exposure situations. The type and characteristics will depend upon the task and degree of exposure anticipated.
Biohazardous material is a danger to both your employees and the environment. The ABCs of biohazard waste disposal are.
Centers for Disease Control website. Sharps safety for healthcare settings. www.cdc.gov/sharpssafety/resources.html. Accessed February 1, 2022.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration website. OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens – Standards | Occupational Safety. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.1030 Accessed February 1, 2022
Healthcare Environmental Resource Center. State-by-State Regulated Medical Waste Resource Locator https://www.hercenter.org/rmw/rmwlocator.php Accessed February 1, 2022
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