Hospitals generate a lot of medical waste and its proper disposal is crucial when it comes to maintaining the health and safety of the sensitive environment in which it was created. It is also necessary to follow certain protocol in order to stay in compliance with government and industry standards. Medical waste, proper, is considered any type of waste that could potentially be infectious. Or to put it more broadly, it is any kind of waste that is generated as a result of patient treatment or diagnosis. Or course, this includes many different types of items, so here is a little insight into exactly what happens to all the waste that is produced in hospitals.
1. How is hospital waste handled?
The people who are responsible for handling and compacting hospital waste need to ensure that it is tightly contained from point A to its final destination. If the task of handling is not approached with the utmost consideration, the possibility of contamination or injury increases dramatically. Ideally, every single staff member who deals in handling waste should receive periodic reminders and refresher training. These sessions should entail up to date information regarding the techniques and risks associated with the handling of waste, procedures for dealing with spillages and other accidents and instructions on the use of protective clothing. In order to ensure that the training has been effective, upon completion it is recommended that staff are required to demonstrate proper handling in order to retain their certification and be seen as fit to continue doing their job.
2. How is hospital waste stored?
In every hospital, there should be a dedicated area which is reserved exclusively for the storage of hospital waste. In most cases, this area will be outlined in the initial design plans for the building and should remain the same over the entirety of the building’s existence. These areas need to include certain features in order to be adequate when it comes to meeting code. For example, the should be entirely enclosed and removed from any supply rooms or food preparation areas.
3. How is hospital waste classified?
It is also important to take into consideration that not all waste created in a hospital can be classified in one category. It is important that the different types of waste can be easily classified into different fractions based on their potential hazard and disposal route. This classification will be the responsibility of the handler and therefore, it is very important that they understand the different categories they are dealing with. In order to facilitate this process, it is also important that every single waste container is clearly marked, and that hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are never mixed.
4. How is hospital waste transported?
The transportation of hospital waste is generally quite regulated, and this means that even when waste is shipped across international borders for treatment, there are special agreements that exist. In the same ways that hospital waste is stored, hazardous and non-hazardous waste should always be transported separately, and drivers should be trained to know the different kinds of hospital waste that they are dealing with.
5. How is hospital waste disposed of?
Hospital waste disposal is generally carried out by firms that come to collect any waste which cannot be treated onside. Waste is then treated and deposited in carefully designed and protected landfills. As with every other step in the process of dealing with hospital waste, disposal needs to be done adhering to strict standards and protocol in order to minimise any potential harm. It should only be carried out by certified firms that are specifically equipped for the job at hand.