Medical waste management not only involves measures taken to reduce employees’ exposure to biomedical waste, but also the proper handling and disposal of materials that may contain blood-borne pathogens. Measures to reduce employees' exposure to biomedical waste include training, wearing of latex gloves and protective clothing, and disposing of needles in specially designed medical waste disposal devices to prevent needle-sticks. Knowledge of terminology pertaining to medical waste management regulations and procedures not only ensures that your organization is in compliance but that you are protecting your staff as well.
Medical Waste Management Act of California
The California Medical Waste Management Act adopted in 1990 addresses the issue of medical waste management by requiring permitting, registration and inspections of facilities that generate large amounts of medical waste, such as hospitals, nursing facilities and clinics. Facilities that generate small amounts of medical waste are also required to register.
Medical Waste Management Act
from the California Department of Public Health.
Blood-borne pathogens are those infectious materials found in blood that can cause hepatitis B or transmit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to people if they come in contact. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to take measure to protect their employees from exposure to blood-borne pathogens by providing gloves and gowns, hepatitis B vaccinations, proper disposal containers for needles and training.
Environmental Health and Safety
training module of the Board of Regents at the University System of Georgia provides training on blood-borne pathogens.
SHARPS medical-waste, management-disposal devices provide a method for health-care workers to safely dispose of needles by extracting them from the syringe, thereby reducing the chance of an accidental needle-stick and possible transmission of infectious disease.
Environment, Health and Safety Division
provides information on disposal procedures for medical waste utilizing SHARPS containers.
Biomedical waste consists of items such as blood samples, cultures, needles and any other device used to puncture, cut or scrape the body, as well as human fluids and waste that have the possibility of carrying blood-borne pathogens that can cause hepatitis B and transmit HIV. Individuals can protect themselves from the hazards of biomedical waste by washing their hands, covering sores and cuts, wearing latex gloves and protective clothing, and disinfecting work areas.
Public Health - Seattle & King County
Pharmaceutical waste management
While pharmaceuticals effectively treat disease and other medical conditions in humans, leftover dosages - especially those containing epinephrine and warfarin - are hazardous wastes and need to be disposed of according to regulation. Pharmaceuticals that have ignitability, reactivity, toxicity and corrosive characteristics also need to be disposed of according to regulation.
Hazardous Materials Table
in the Code of Federal Regulations to determine whether a pharmaceutical is a hazardous material.
Dental waste disposal
Dental offices, like other medical offices, also use needles, syringes and lancets in their daily operations and therefore require proper waste disposal. Materials used in dental offices, such as amalgam for dental fillings and lead foils, also require special disposal methods.