What Does the Medical Waste Disposal Process Look Like? Medical wastes are generated from a variety of sources, including medical facilities, spas, tattoo shops, veterinarians, healthcare providers, and laboratories. Medical waste disposal is necessary because these medical wastes may transmit pathogens to humans, animals, or the environment. The goal of medical waste disposal is to prevent the spread of disease from these materials. However, many people do not know what the process looks like and how it works. This article will explain everything you need to know about medical waste disposal.
What is Medical Waste?
Generally, medical waste is waste that that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials and is often referred to as, infectious waste, biohazard waste, regulated medical waste, biomedical waste, and sharps waste.
Why is Disposal Important?
The primary goal of medical waste disposal is to prevent the spread of pathogens through these materials. Medical wastes can transmit infectious diseases to humans and animals. They also pose potential threats to the environment if they are not disposed of in a way that prevents harm. These materials could include non-biodegradable plastics, which means they will persist for a long time if not disposed of properly.
What Does the Disposal Process Look Like?
The first step in the medical waste disposal process is to identify the waste. Proper segregation of medical waste moves it to the next phase when the containers are full and that is storage. Storage areas at a facility should be carefully selected so that the waste containers do not come in contact with any other products and are not accessible by the public. This area should be clearly marked with the biohazard symbol and accessible only by authorized personnel.
The containers should be stored so that they cannot be easily knocked over or spilled. Make sure the storage area is secure and, in a location, to protect it from theft, vandalism, inadvertent human or animal exposure, rain, water, and wind. Keep the storage area clean and well-ventilated so that it does not become a breeding ground for insects or rodents and does not generate noxious odors.
Most states have a specific amount of time that medical waste can be stored at a generator’s facility. If you are unsure of your state’s requirements, contact Healthcare Waste Management Today.
A medical waste disposal vendor will have specific pickup dates/times, arrive with vehicles that are designed for medical waste disposal, and will remove the medical waste safely from your facility.
Types of Medical Waste Treatments and Disposal
Once the medical waste disposal company has removed the waste from the facility each container will be treated and/or disposed of based on the type of medical waste to ensure total and full decontamination. Some types of treatments include:
Autoclaving, a combination of high temperatures and pressure to destroy the medical waste.
Irradiative: exposure to gamma rays that are fatal to viruses and bacteria.
Chemical treatments, also known as biological or enzyme treatments: chemical disinfectants that render the medical waste harmless.
Microwave Treatment, Microwave disinfection works only when there is water in the waste. because the radiation directly works on the water, not the solid components of the waste.
Once the medical waste has been treated using the appropriate method it is decontaminated and is harmless. Any residue can be shredded, recycled, placed safely in landfills, or all of the above.
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