Facts About Bio-Hazardous Waste Every Medical Facility Manager Needs To Know

Posted on: 15 April 2016

Taking care to always dispose of medical waste in a proper manner is essential for a healthy, safe environment for patients, their visitors, and medical care professionals. However, extremely stressful scheduling can make it easy to forget to little details about proper waste disposal.. Medical facility managers should make sure their staff knows the specific categories for bio-hazardous waste and proper medical waste disposal methods.

Bio-Hazardous Waste Categories Are Important To Their Disposal

Not every bio-hazardous waste product is disposed of in the same manner. Making sure your staff always maintains proper techniques is vital to public health and safety. The following categories are divided so each one can be disposed of in an appropriate manner:

  • Sharps: Placing used needles, scalpel blades, plastic holders if they have them, and used slides into designated sharps containers marked with a bio-hazardous symbol is vital for safety reasons. Make sure your nurses never put used needles, even inside their caps, into the pockets of their scrubs for disposing of at a later time. When staff get busy, it is too easy to forget about emptying pockets, meaning needles go home with possible contamination and end up in landfills after they toss them in the trash at home.

  • Lab Waste: Used and contaminated petri dishes, flasks, pipettes should be placed into specially designated cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes should always have the bio-hazard sticker on them in clear view. If your lab workers have unused glass lab-ware like petri dishes and slides, they can be re-wrapped and put into a designated Styrofoam box when returning to manufacturer for recycling.

  • Liquid Waste: Human blood, any elements of human blood, human bodily fluids, or semi-fluids--like mucous--should be placed in specially designated red bags marked as bio-hazardous.

  • Other Types of Medical Waste: Waste like used bandages, empty specimen containers (like those used for urine samples), and IV tubing should never be tossed in trash cans in patients' rooms unless the nursing professional takes it with him or her for immediate, proper disposal upon leaving the room.

Making certain your staff is aware of proper medical waste disposal procedures and packaging techniques is vital. Be sure to always have appropriate waste containers on-site and a few in storage for when schedules are busy. In this way, you do not have to wait for container orders before you can properly dispose of bio-hazardous waste. If you have a professional firm picking up your medical waste on a regular schedule, making sure your pick-up is properly sealed and ready to go can save time and money, and it can prevent the spread of serious, infectious diseases.