Biohazard Waste Facts Every Healthcare Provider Should Know

MedPro's biohazard do's and don'ts

Each year, tons of biohazard waste is disposed of from countless medical facilities around the country. From soiled linens to used needles, once these items become contaminated, they must be handled with the utmost care.

While special biohazard containers make disposal easy and safe for caregivers, accidents can and often do happen. Because these items are so dangerous, it is important for all healthcare workers to know the facts.

Needle Pricks are More Common Than You Think

When you work around needles all day every day, it’s easy to get a bit casual with safety precautions, which is why needle pricks afflict thousands of medical professionals each year. These needles can be contaminated with serious, and sometimes life-threatening diseases.

All medical workers should be sure to cap and discard a needle immediately after use. It is far too easy for someone to get pricked because an uncapped needle was left on a table in the back office.

Don’t Underestimate Airborne Pathogens Present in Biohazard Waste

Many people focus on or are concerned about the solid or liquid contaminants inside of biohazard containers. After all, these can easily be absorbed into the skin or get into a cut.

But more attention should be given to the airborne pathogens that are within biohazardous waste. If handled or stored improperly, these pathogens can be let loose into the air supply. With HVAC systems in most medical facilities, it wouldn’t be long before these pathogens were allowed to spread far and wide.

Just because something isn’t visible to the naked eye, doesn’t mean it isn’t extremely dangerous.

Discarded Vaccines Can Spread Disease

Once a doctor or nurse gives a patient a vaccine, that needle and vial should be immediately discarded into a biohazard container. If left outside of the container, disease can easily spread.

Remember, many vaccines are made from an active form of the disease, such as measles or mumps. Although perfectly safe when injected into the body, outside they can become dangerous if not properly discarded. You don’t want to spread a disease that you are trying to protect people from.

It’s a good idea to offer refresher courses to your staff on the properly handling and disposal of biohazard waste. When your staff is educated, and takes disposal serious, both your team and patients will be as safe as possible.

MedPro offers OSHA education courses to make compliance a simple and hassle-free part of your life. Get in touch with us today.

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