Posted on August 5, 2014

Improperly Managed Medical Waste Puts Medical Workers at Higher Risk of Contracting Ebola

Contrary to popular belief and what has been recently promoted by media, Ebola is a virus that will spread like wildfire throughout the United States. It is not an airborne virus. It spreads through bodily fluids, blood, vomit, and other biohazardous waste. This means that, while the general public is not likely to contract Ebola, medical workers are at a much higher risk should the virus be present in their facility. If blood and contaminated items such as needles and gauze are not properly handled and disposed of, staff could become infected.

Fortunately, we can easily avoid the spread of Ebola in medical facilities by taking proper steps in advance.

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Is Biohazard Waste Being Properly Managed?

It is vital that facilities take proper steps to manage biohazardous waste and to avoid anyone coming into contact with potentially infectious materials or substances. Your waste is properly managed when…

  • Waste is handled with proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Waste is stored in a restricted area accessible only by authorized personel
  • Storage area is clearly labeled as biohazardous waste
  • Waste is stored in the appropriate container(s)
  • Waste is picked up before container becomes overfilled
  • Waste is disposed of by a licensed and insured disposal company

Are Employees Trained to Properly Handle Waste?

Training is vital when it comes to reducing the risk of an exposure incident. It’s times like these when we remind ourselves why training is important. It is not simply to avoid an OSHA violation or fine. It is to protect our employees from contracting something dangerous and potentially fatal yet completely preventable. Employees should be certified according to OSHA standards and certifications should be kept up to date.

Have You Educated Your Staff About Ebola?

Whenever there is an outbreak of a disease or simply a hightened risk, patients and guests will begin to get worried and ask questions. In addition to taking proper precautions, it is good for hospital staff to be able to speak to patientes and guests. They can ease their worries and explain what preventative steps are being taken. Take appropriate precautions and help keep the Ebola virus contained and keep everyone safe. Just take what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently tweeted:

hazcom changes, OSHA compliance, OSHA training


Do you have any thoughts on dealing with the worries and risks of a disease outbreak at your facility? Share with us in the comments section below.