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Who Is Maintaining Your Medical Waste?

December 4, 2020

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Who Is Maintaining Your Medical Waste?

Who Is Maintaining Your Medical Waste? Local, state, and federal guidelines dictate that the responsibility of all medical waste falls on the organization that generates it. This means that from the moment that the medical waste is created to the final proper disposal, a healthcare facility carries the onus of ensuring that all laws have been complied with. Compliance involves not only the disposal, but making sure that staff are aware of each step that must be taken to make sure that there aren’t any accidents. Medical mistakes can not only be financially costly, but can put patients, staff, and medical waste disposal companies at risk.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that all employees take medical waste certification programs. However, sometimes corners are cut and shortcuts are taken, especially during high capacity patient care. These situations may sound minor, but they can escalate a condition to the point of causing an accident that could cost in money and lives.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has very specific requirements that must be followed for the pickup and transport of medical waste.  This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, where medical facilities may be stressed.

A Good Medical Waste Disposal Company Can Help

A healthcare facility should do a little homework before signing up with a medical waste disposal company so that they know they have a knowledgeable company. A professional, licensed, and certified medical waste disposal company will offer OSHA certifications programs for staff to educate them on the correct procedures for medical waste.  Good medical waste disposal companies are aware of the most common human error actions that can occur within a healthcare facility and will assist in advising to help to reduce mistakes.

Knowing the Law; Avoiding Errors

The better medical waste disposal companies will work with healthcare facilities to make sure that they are in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws and guidelines. Some mistakes that have been reported have included containers that have not been properly closed and/or sealed. The medical waste disposal company driver will arrive at pre-scheduled times for pickup of medical waste and will supply a manifest tracking form that complies with the “cradle to grave” rule. When signing the manifest, the individual is declaring that the contents being picked up has been packaged, classified, marked and labeled according to the regulations stipulated by the government. The signature also indicates that the pickup doesn’t include any materials considered to be hazardous such as hazardous drugs or mercury. ONLY the employees of the generator can package and close the containers that are being picked up and sign the manifest tracking document. 

Explicit Procedures for Pickup and Mail Back

There are specific actions and rules that must be complied with when your organization coordinates a pickup from a good medical waste disposal company. Check with your local and state laws to ensure compliance, but overall they typically include:

Mail back procedures typically involve:

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