Hospitals Handling Medical Waste
Because of the variety of patients and diseases treated in a hospital, the staff comes into contact with many kinds of medical waste. It is critical for the managers of these facilities to find a reliable, reputable waste disposal company to handle the medical waste. All Florida Medical Waste provides exceptional service to hospitals for their medical waste to allow the staff to focus on patient care. Because we focus solely on medical waste, we are able to stay up to date on the latest regulations and provide security for the hospital.
Defining Medical Waste
Medical waste has a rather simple definition, which says it is any kind of waste that includes potentially infectious material. While this is a straightforward definition, it’s not always easy to recognize. Medical waste may be broken down into subcategories, each of which must be handled in a specific way. Some examples of types of medical waste include:
- Sharps – any sharp object that can pierce the skin, such as needles, scissors, razors, scalpels, even broken glass and wire.
- Pathological – waste that contains human fluids, such as blood, tissue, bodily fluids or animal carcasses.
- Infectious waste – This includes any materials that may be infectious or contain infectious materials, such as tissues, swabs, lab cultures and equipment.
- Radioactive – This type of waste usually includes liquid used in radiotherapy or supplies contaminated by the liquid.
- Chemical – This type of waste includes solvents, disinfectants, batteries and other items that contain some type of chemical.
- Pharmaceuticals – This category includes medications, vaccines, and antibiotics as well as other drugs, which are unused and may or may not be expired.
- Genotoxic waste – This is one of the most hazardous forms of waste because it is carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic or includes drugs for cancer treatment.
- Non-regulated waste – This category of waste isn’t hazardous and is not regulated because it doesn’t pose a specific danger.
Hospitals will often handle all these types of medical waste within the same facility.
Handling of Medical Waste
Because of the diversity of a hospital’s function, it must manage all types of waste properly. The manager will need to decide if the waste is treated on-site or off-site and how it will be disposed of. In general, on-site management of medical waste is expensive because of the cost of acquiring the equipment. Then, there is the training and managing of the staff who will take care of the waste.
Once it is decided to dispose of the waste off-site, the next issue is where and how. There are various options for medical waste disposal that are used based on the type of waste involved.
- Incineration – Once the only method for disposing of medical waste, it is still used in some cases, but has become rarer.
- Autoclaving – This method is a steam sterilization that turns hazardous waste into non-hazardous waste, which allows it to be disposed of normally.
- Microwaving - Similar to autoclaving, it uses powerful equipment to neutralize the waste.
- Chemical – A chemical is applied to hazardous chemical waste to neutralize it.
When creating a plan for disposing of medical waste, the manager must know the current laws on preparing, transporting and disposing of the types of medical waste. They must also know how to identify it correctly and separate it into the correct waste containers. They must label those containers and document everything as they prepare it for transport.
It is also critical to hire the right waste disposal company to ensure they know the regulations and handle the waste properly for your protection. A medical waste company, All Florida Medical Waste, keeps employees up to date on the latest regulations and trains them on the different types of waste. They can help you maintain compliance for your hospital to ensure all regulations are met and proper documentation is maintained.
Contact All Florida Medical Waste to find out more about waste disposal and our pricing. We will gladly answer your questions or provide a quote for our services.