Medical waste may be very hazardous if it’s not disposed of in the right way.
Universal precautions are used in all instances of medical waste disposal. Blood and blood products are always considered potentially infectious and are treated as such.
The health hazard concern regarding medical waste began in the 1980s when medical objects like needles started to wash up on many east coast beaches. Great strides in proper medical waste disposal have been made since then.
What medical waste includes:
- All bodily fluid like blood, saliva, semen, etc.;
- Any items contaminated with bodily fluids like bandages, gauze pads, dressings and compresses;
- Contaminated bedding, gloves and sharp items, such as syringes and scalpel blades.
Medical waste may be solid or liquid. It comes from places where medical activities occur, such as doctors’ and dentists’ offices, hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, funeral homes, labs and veterinary clinics. Waste coming from these facilities isn’t normally infectious, but they still have to be treated differently than other waste.
What’s the process?
Always use sterile, waterproof gloves. All waste designated as medical needs to be stored and disposed of in bags that won’t leak and in containers marked or labeled with different colours.
- Disposable scalpel blades, needles, syringes and other sharp things must be put into puncture-proof containers;
- Waste that’s contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids should be double-bagged before it’s handled, stored or moved;
- Disposal of medical waste should adhere to all provincial and federal laws.
Much medical waste is labelled infectious or biohazardous meaning it could lead to the spread of infectious diseases.
Sharp items that are disposed of improperly put workers and the public at risk. There is a likelihood of needlestick injuries and possible infection if inadequate containers break open during transport. Hospital and clinic cleaning staff also are at risk of injury if these objects poke through garbage bags. Used syringes are capable of transmitting serious diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Alternative treatment and disposal of medical waste
Possible alternatives to burning medical waste are:
- Sterilization by steam, like autoclaving;
- Chemical systems.
You can get rid of your unwanted items by calling Gorilla Bins. They offer quick, reliable disposal bin rentals with delivery and pickup services. Bin sizes range from 4.5 to 15 cubic metres, so there is a bin available that’s perfect for your individual situation. Give Gorilla Bins a call to discuss your options.