5 Medical Waste Disposal Mistakes to Avoid

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In a busy healthcare facility, errors are impossible to avoid. However, some mistakes have bigger consequences than others. A single medical waste disposal mishap can have widespread consequences for patients, visitors, healthcare professionals, and the environment. Here are five medical waste disposal mistakes to avoid:

1. Combining Medical Waste with Other Waste

Commingling medical waste with regular garbage is a big mistake. If someone sifts through your trash to find an accidentally-tossed document, for example, they risk exposure to dangerous pathogens. Always use red bags for medical waste and never include it with regular garbage.

2. Inadequate Packaging or Labeling of Medical Waste

Don’t make the mistake of mislabeling your medical waste or putting it in the wrong container; it may result in a health hazard and a big fine. Healthcare facilities that generate medical waste are responsible for properly packaging and storing it in labeled containers. For example, biohazardous waste must be labeled with the biohazard symbol. Similarly, sharps containers must be clearly marked.

3. Avoiding Staff Training

Many healthcare facilities lack the resources to provide medical waste training for their staff. If your employees don’t know how to collect and dispose of medical waste properly, it jeopardizes the safety of your patients and the environment. Outsourcing your medical waste compliance training to a qualified partner saves your organization money and reduces its risk profile.

4. Ignoring DOT Transport Regulations

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a permit when transporting more than fifty pounds of medical waste. It’s easy to see why many healthcare providers ignore this requirement though, since obtaining a permit is expensive and requires hours of training. Fortunately, you can meet DOT medical waste transport requirements by outsourcing your medical waste disposal to an experienced and reputable partner.

5. Failing to Document Waste Storage and Disposal

The DOT also requires collected medical waste to have tracking documents stating the following:
  • Date of transport
  • Quantity of waste transported
  • Name of registered waste hauler
If your facility makes the mistake of not documenting the entire waste disposal process, it may be issued a citation. The good news is, you can avoid these common medical waste disposal mistakes by partnering with a qualified waste disposal provider. From OSHA compliance training to implementing a customized medical waste reduction program, these companies will provide a full range of medical waste disposal services. Med Dog Waste Management is a locally-owned and operated company and Certified Woman’s Business Enterprise that has been serving organizations in Atlanta and Northeast Georgia with medical waste disposal services since 2001. For more helpful tips on avoiding medical waste disposal mistakes, please call us at 770-832-7736.
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