As a healthcare professional, you recognize the importance of proper waste disposal. What many people don’t realize is the probability of further contamination can be more dangerous than the initial threat. A used needle could sit and mix with other bacteria. If someone pokes themselves with the needle, they could be exposed to more than just the original bacteria. Here are some tips for making sure your staff and patients understand why proper disposal is important and how to avoid some common mistakes.
When it comes to sharp implements, proper storage for disposal means no one gets poked with a used sharp object. Never put sharps in bags, boxes or other containers that aren’t designed for that type of waste. And don’t forget other sharps like broken glass, lancets, scalpel blades, and exposed dental wires. There are a lot of sharp dangers you might not even think about.
Part of proper disposal is not over-filling your containers. The fill lines in containers are there for your protection. If you overfill, you run the risk of someone coming in contact with dangerous medical waste. Also, make sure you keep containers closed and secured.
One of the concerns of medical waste is that anything that comes in contact with it can become infected. That means, if you drop your keys or cell phone into a waste container, you run the risk of not only infecting yourself but anyone you come in contact with after you become contaminated. Err on the side of caution and keep these things away from harmful waste.
Only medical waste should be disposed of in waste containers. Don’t be tempted to put other chemicals, aerosols or x-ray waste in your medical containers. These materials can be hazardous, and they need to be disposed of properly. Not all waste facilities are equipped to handle the same kind of waste.
Properly containing your medical, pharmaceutical and dental waste is not only environmentally responsible, it’s also the law. Don’t risk the health and safety of your employees and patients to cut a few corners.