Do You Make These Biohazard Waste Disposal Mistakes? Quick Tips To Keep Everyone Safe!
While these mistakes are easy to prevent, many people still make them. Keep yourself and your team safe by learning how to avoid these common slip ups. You may be thinking “so what are those mistakes we’re apparently making?”
Below are what we feel are the top 6 mistakes you might make that could be easily avoided.
Mistake #1: Allowing personal items such as a cellphone or keys to fall into the medical waste container.
How to avoid this: This one probably seems obvious. However, you don’t want to be the one watching your phone fall right before your eyes, tumbling in slow motion toward a bag full of blood-covered gauze and bandages as you frantically grasp through the air trying to catch it. Instead, create a designated area for personal items away from your biohazard waste container and make a habit of placing your keys and phone here before dealing with any medical waste. Make a sign to hang above it reminding co-workers to do the same.
Mistake #2: Placing bags in the container that have sharp objects sticking out of them.
How to avoid this: Be sure to place all sharps in labeled sharps containers. This includes needles, scalpel blades, glass pipets, broken glass, and more. Essentially, anything that could cut or pierce the skin is considered sharps waste. Things such as cotton swabs with wooden handles, which could potentially puncture the bag but are not necessarily considered sharps, should be placed in a solid, puncture resistant container before being placed in the waste container.
Mistake #3: Overfilling the container
How to avoid this: If your container is becoming full and you do not have another container ready or a pickup scheduled, contact your medical waste disposal provider to learn about your options. Ask about getting shipped an additional container and if there is a cost associated with picking up an additional box. If you run into this problem often, talk to your waste disposal provider about switching your service to a frequency that better fits your needs. You never want to end up with an overflowing medical waste container.
Mistake #4: Having untrained employees handling biohazard waste.
How to avoid this: Make sure all employees who may come in contact with biohazardous waste are properly trained and certified. Simply purchasing access to OSHA training tools is not enough. Employees need to be enrolled, trained and fully certified to be safe. This is about more than just potential fines, it’s about safety.
Mistake #5: Putting regular trash or loose waste in medical waste containers.
How to avoid this: Clearly label your biohazard waste disposal container and put it in a designated area only accessible to authorized personnel. Place directions above the biohazard container reminding everyone what should and should not go in this container. In addition, be sure your employees are all enrolled, trained and certified under current OSHA regulations so they understand these terms. Make sure everyone knows to place waste in biohazard bags or sharps containers as well.
Mistake #6: Placing hazardous chemicals and flammable substances in the medical waste containers.
How to avoid this: Have a plan in place for what to do with these substances when they need to be disposed of. Things like rubbing alcohol, aerosols, and other RCRA-hazardous wastes cannot be placed in medical waste containers and need to be disposed of separately. Review both state guidelines as well as regulations for your facility. Often, a facility’s guidelines may be more stringent than state regulations.
These are just some of the most common mistakes made with biohazard medical waste that can be easily avoided. What other dangers have you run into in your workplace? How have you learned to prevent them? Share with us in the comments section below!