Medical Waste Disposal for a Doctor's Office
There are quite a few different types of single practice businesses that can generate medical waste. These can include dentists, pharmacies, funeral homes, tattoo parlors, laboratories, blood banks, veterinarians, surgery centers, long term care, hospice, and coroners. Medical waste can contain contaminants that are potentially infectious and hazardous to humans, the community and the environment. Each location can generate medical waste and they must comply with the local, state, and federal guidelines for containment, storage, and proper disposal.
No matter what type of practice, all employees must be educated on the requirements of medical waste handling and containment. Single practice offices coordinate with a professional and licensed medical waste disposal company to arrange pick up and disposal of all medical waste. Each type must be placed in the containers designated for the waste type and is required to have an exterior label.
Examples of some of the most common medical waste found in single practice environments can include but are not limited to:
- Human and/or animal pathological waste, including an OPIM or blood.
- Sharps: needles, syringes, scissors, scalpels, razors, blades, and any object that can puncture the skin.
- Microbiological materials or any items that could be contaminated with any infectious agent.
- Hazardous waste including anything that has involved chemicals, lead, and x-rays.
- Regulated medical waste that can include but is not limited to red bag blood, human tissues, bandages, soiled sheets and gowns, body parts, swabs, dressings, arterial tubes, and any type of fabric that may have come into contact with a patient or body.
- Pharmaceutical waste can include expired or left over current medications and nonviable medications that can no longer be offered to a patient.
All medical waste must be packaged in the proper containers and placed in a storage area that cannot be accessed by other staffers, patients, or the general public, and will only be accessed by the professional medical waste disposal company during pick up.
Many types of medical waste can be stored in a corrugated box or reusable medical waste box that is lined with a red biohazard bag. When the box is almost full, the staff member should wear gloves to gather the edges of the bag and contain it with a twist or zip tie or wire. They must then close the box and it must be sealed and the proper exterior label and identifier applied. All areas of the box should be contained and any part the red bag should not be exposed.
Items such as sharps, medications, chemotherapy waste and pathological waste must be segregated into their specific containers. Sharps are recommended to be placed in special containers that are designed so that they cannot be pierced and will protect anyone from being injured and possibly contaminated. The containers are sealed to avoid leakage of any fluids that may be on or in the sharps.
Some states allow pharmaceutical waste to be mailed in through the use of a mail-in program with a licensed, professional medical waste management company. Check with the company that you contract with for state guidelines.
Parent page - Medical Waste Disposal
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