Tips to Help You Identify Your Medical Waste Disposal Needs. Medical waste disposal is a necessary function that often gets hired out to a third-party Medical Waste Management Company. Like Healthcare Waste Management.
You might not realize how many different types of medical waste you generate until you need to place containers at the generation points.
This article will cover the basics of medical waste disposal, what you need to know about your facility’s needs, and some tips for determining what type of service will work best for you.
Medical waste is the waste generated by the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in hospitals, laboratories, clinics and other medical institutions. However, other business types can also produce medical waste, Tattoo shops, Medical Spa’s or “MedSpas” are just a couple of different examples.
Medical waste, or biomedical, biohazardous, infectious medical waste, is waste that that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials and is often referred to as regulated medical waste.
The following categories of wastes should be segregated at the point of generation for management as medical wastes:
1. Sharps that have been used in animal or human patient care or treatment or in medical, research, or industrial laboratories. Includes hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpel blades, and pipette. OSHA categorizes orthodontic wire, as sharps.
2. Cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals. Includes specimen cultures from medical and pathological laboratories; cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories; wastes from the production of biologicals; and discarded live and attenuated vaccines; culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures.
3. Bulk human blood and blood products. Liquid waste human blood, products of blood, items saturated and with the potential for dripping blood, serum, plasma, and other blood corn ponents.
4. Pathological wastes. Human tis- sues, organs, body parts and body fluids that are removed during surgery and postmortem procedures, except for teeth, feces, excreta and corpses and body parts intended for interment or cremation.
5. Isolation wastes. Includes wastes contaminated with blood, excretions, exudates, or secretions from sources isolated to protect others from highly communicable infectious diseases which are identified as viruses assign- ed to Biosafety Level by the Centers for Disease Control.
6. Animal waste. Contaminated ani- mal carcasses, body parts, fluids and bedding of animals that have been afflicted with suspected zoonotic dis- ease or purposely infected with agents infective to humans during research, in the production of biologicals, or in the in vivo testing of pharmaceuticals. (State agriculture departments and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
There are other waste that could be generated in a healthcare setting and those include.
Sharps Waste, sharps waste is placed in an FDA Approved Sharps Waste Container some examples of items that go in the sharps container are, Needles, Blades, Razors, Ampules, Broken Glass, Guide Wires, Staples, Trocars, and Sharp Objects. In a healthcare setting anyplace there is a patient, medical staff interaction whether in the ER, hospital room, or intake area you will usually find a sharps container nearby.
Biohazard waste, biohazard waste goes into red bags, marked cardboard boxes, and solid plastic bins (all must have the appropriate markings). The biohazard container can contain some of the following items, Blood Products, IV Tubing, Cultures, Stacks, Infectious Waste, Contaminated PPE.
Pharmaceutical waste can include expired, contaminated, or unused non-hazardous medications. Next are some of the items that could be classified as pharmaceutical waste. Partial IV’s, IV Tubing, Unused Pills, Topical Ointments, Partial Vials, Sponges soaked in liquid meds, Unused Pills.
RCRA hazardous waste is pharmaceutical wastes defined as hazardous under RCRA, which can include but are not limited to D, U, and P listed pharmaceuticals, Antineoplastic, Mercury, and Chemical Sterilizing Agents.
Dual Waste is Hazardous and Infectious waste such as Syringes, bulk pharmaceuticals, ampoules with meds, live vaccines, syringe, or vial with RCRA or P listed pharmaceuticals.
Trace chemotherapy waste is RCRA empty syringes, vials, IV bags where less than 3% remains in a chemical and other forms of RCRA medical waste. Trace Chemo waste could include. Empty Vials, Syringes, IV Bags, Anything Used with Antineoplastics gowns, goggles, gloves, tubing, and wipes (unless overtly contaminated).
The first step to correctly identifying your medical waste disposal needs is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the types of medical waste generated at your facility. The type of service you need will depend on the size, location, and frequency of your company’s medical waste generation.
Once you understand how much waste and what type of waste is being generated in your facility, you can start contacting medical waste vendors. Often, this is done by searching Google for the city needing service and the type of service needed for example, “Gary, Indiana Medical Waste Disposal”.
There are different levels of service providers you may encounter when looking for a medical waste vendor. We have a detailed list here in this article Medical Waste Companies – What You Need to Know and we have listed a brief overview below.
Lead Generators – What they care about is who is going to pay them the most for your information, not who is the best fit for you.
Broker – They will use subcontractors and have little control over the individual drivers that walk in your office, the training those drivers take, background checks of those drivers or the safety of the trucks and equipment that haul your waste.
A Hauler – They do not treat the waste or sometimes even store the waste. They simply pick it up from you and take it to another company to destroy.
Medical Waste Management Company – A medical waste management company will have the most invested in their company, in order to service your company. Direct employees, a fleet of trucks, their own treatment plants.
Medical waste disposal is a necessary part of running any business that produces medical waste. However, to avoid any complications, you need to make sure your vendor is experienced, reliable and meets all regulatory standards.
Do Your Due Diligence
It is important to ask the right questions to ensure your needs as a medical waste generator are met. Some questions to ask a potential medical waste vendor include:
Experience, how long have you been managing medical waste?
What is your treatment process? You need to know how your medical waste is disposed of once it leaves your facility. Do they own the treatment plants? Do they take it to a third-party treatment plant?
Choosing A Medical Waste Vendor
This is important for a couple of reasons, if the company owns its own treatment plants, they must stay up on current regulations as they are more regulated than a company that simply transports medical waste.
There is a good chance you will get a better price if they own the treatment plants because they do not have to pay a third-party to treat your medical waste.
Do you have the proper license and permits, to handle, transport, store, and treat medical waste?
What type of background checks and training do your employees receive?
Do you use subcontractors to complete any of the work?
If so, in what steps do you use subcontractors? Hauling, Treatment? and what are the subcontractor’s business names? This will give you additional companies to call and get quotes.
Medical Waste Management Services can take many forms depending on the medical waste your facility produces.
The most common form of service is for medical facilities to hire an outside company to manage their Medical Waste Disposal needs. The cost will vary based on the size of your facility and how much waste you produce.
If your facility does not produce a lot of waste, there are other service options available to you. You may be able to use a sharps container or sharps disposal unit to dispose of needles, syringes, and lancets.
If you need full-service Medical Waste Disposal services, then you will need to hire an outside company that specializes in this field, like Healthcare Waste Management.
Some vendors only provide pickup and transportation services, while others may offer pickup, transportation, and treatment services as well as other extras like:
Environment Friendly Services, like reusable containers, smart routing systems, low impact treatment services.
Secure Document and Product Shredding Services
Pharmaceutical Disposal Services
Online Compliance Training
Free consultations so you can learn about what they have to offer and how it may help your company.
Pricing will vary depending on the type of waste you’re generating and the company you choose. For example, some companies offer a service where they take care of all your medical waste for one low monthly fee. Others may charge by the pound.
When it comes to pricing, there’s no “one size fits all.” You’ll need to evaluate what’s best for your business.
The cheapest guy on the block may not always be the best option, you will want to ensure your medical waste is being picked up and treated on schedule, missed pickups can cause a pile up in the office of medical waste, which could lead to regulatory non-compliance issues.
Being under insured can also increase your risk, the lack of proper insurance and a vehicle accident could fall back on your facility as the generator of that medical waste.
Experience, the new guy may undercut their prices to get new customers but that is not sustainable in the long run. The options? Go out of business, raise your prices, improperly dispose of your medical waste. None of those are good options for your facility.
So, while it is understandable price is a consideration, choosing an experienced medical waste management company that has invested in their company to service your company is often the cheaper choice.
We own the trucks that come to your facility, we employ the drivers that come into your facility, and we own the destruction plants that destroy your waste. By having one company handle your waste from ‘cradle-to-grave’ allows us to bring our customers, the best process, products, and services with significant savings compared to the industry standard pricing. We do this while reducing our client’s impact on the environment which is a true win-win. Best processes, pricing and practices is what we built our company on.
Our commitment to our customers and the environment doesn’t stop with our cradle-to-grave management of your medical waste. We also use a state-of-the-art reusable container system for medical waste and sharps waste that keeps unnecessary waste from impacting the environment. Our cradle-to-grave management process, reusable medical waste and sharps disposal containers, fuel efficient trucks and intelligent routing are all examples of our commitment to our customers and the environment.
We offer full service medical waste disposal, shredding services, and compliance training. Having compliance training that is an effective learning solution is an important part of making sure that all employees not only understand applicable laws but follow internal company policies and legal regulations that involve their daily roles. Many organizations are turning to partner companies that have already established an efficient and credible compliance training program to accommodates their needs. These are much more cost-effective than trying to design their own and gives their company an air of good standing with their clients and customers.
Medical waste disposal is a responsibility that all generators must take seriously. The best way to determine your needs is to know the types of medical waste you have, the volume of medical waste generated, and the frequency of wastes generated. Do not hesitate to contact Healthcare Waste Management to find out how we can help you meet your needs. We service the Midwest with treatment plants across the region to treat your medical waste safely and effectively. From Shredding services, online compliance training portals, to medical waste management we have you covered, Contact Healthcare Waste Management Today!
Healthcare Environmental Resource Center – Types of Regulated Medical Waste. https://www.hercenter.org/rmw/rmwtypes.php
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Infection Control. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/environmental/background/medical-waste.html
OSHA 1910.1030 – Bloodborne pathogens. Standards, Occupational Safety. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.1030
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