Medical facilities require expert waste handling safety. Hospital departments from the laboratory to radiology each have unique medical waste requirements that demand delicate, appropriate disposal in order to not cause harm to staff and patients. Primary forms of medical waste are categorized by microbiological material, sharp implements, blood and bodily fluids, and various tissue. Safety precaution levels vary depending on each form of surgical/hospital waste.
Here are the guidelines for handling each specific type of medical waste:
1. Chemotherapy agents
Surgical centers, hospitals and cancer treatment facilities each manage chemotherapy agents. Such drugs are used to directly suppress and fight Cancer. There are over 100 different kinds of chemo agent formulas. Chemo drugs work by using alkylating agents to attack growing cells while at rest, in order to prevent cancerous growth. Examples of alkylating agents include poisonous metal salts and even derivatives of mustard gas. Proper disposal of chemotherapy agents is paramount. Medical professionals handle these agents by using full personal protective gear including a mask, gloves, and gown, and perform proper disposal techniques by always using color-coded, seal-ready containers, leaving medicines un-crushed, and promoting proper transportation of the waste.
2. Sharps waste disposal
When you think of “sharps”, it’s needles that come to mind. In addition to safely managing each vessel though, sharps containers are specially designed to also temporarily keep bio-hazard waste under lock and key. Sharps containers must be housed in the same location that the surgical/hospital waste is generated, and infectious agents must be “deactivated” before placing sharps in their container. Liquids or full syringes should never be placed in the bin, and you should never fill a container beyond the recommended fill line.
3. Blood and bodily fluids
Properly disposing of blood and bodily fluids requires the utmost diligence. While it is the primary goal of medical staff to safely handle all waste, blood-borne pathogens are highly regulated. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA, specifically directs that any contaminated items that could spread during handling, must be placed in suitable containers, clearly labeled, and color-coded prior to official disposal.
After surgery or any substantial medical procedure comes tissue disposal. Body parts and removal of deteriorated prosthesis fall under the tissue category. Like fluids, blood, radioactive drugs, and sharps, tissue must too, be segregated and processed with correct identification and always using personal protective gear. Protection from contamination comes from following stringent guidelines.
Responsible medical waste handling safety is the law. By-the-book techniques are in place to keep everyone safe. Regular training sessions are also required to keep medical professional standards fresh. Compliance with proper medical waste disposal keeps the community safe and the medical industry performing at its best.