Funeral home staff members work with deceased human beings who can harbor a myriad of diseases, which is why this industry is serviced by medical waste haulers.
Healthcare facilities like hospitals, dental clinics, nursing homes, and physicians’ offices generate a large amount of daily medical waste. Less talked about producers of medical waste include tattoo parlors, veterinary practices and funeral homes, both of which deal with instruments that come in contact with bodily fluids and other regulated medical waste.
Funeral home staff members work with deceased human beings who can harbor a myriad of diseases, both communicable and noncommunicable. It is essential for every funeral home to correctly manage their waste, for health and regulatory reasons.
The embalming process is considered a medical procedure; for arterial embalming, the blood is removed from the body through the veins and replaced with an embalming solution through the arteries. The embalming solution is usually a combination of formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, ethanol, phenol, and water. The waste that is generated from the embalming process is considered medical waste and must be dealt with according to state and federal laws.
Working with the insides of a human body can expose staff to biohazardous material. It is imperative that funeral homes discard disposable objects that contact the body in a clearly marked biohazard container and take suitable precautions to protect everyone that comes into contact with the materials.
Examples of materials used in a funeral home or mortuary that are considered medical waste include:
- Arterial tubes, cannulas
- Incision needles
- Swabs, dressings, and other fabrics that come into contact with a body
There are certain safety practices during the embalming process that must be used to keep staff safe, including:
- Taking extreme care to prevent cuts, lacerations and splashing of contaminated blood or body fluids.
- Disinfecting the body with medical grade disinfectant. Wash with a germicidal soap and rinse thoroughly. Keep water pressure low to avoid splashing.
- Make sure all waste containers are clearly labelled.
- Check the qualifications of the medical waste disposal company and keep all disposal receipts and records. Manifests must be maintained.
- Each funeral director bears personal responsibility for the proper disposal of the waste generated, as required by federal, state, and local law.
Red Bags services funeral homes, taking the utmost care and respect for the nature of the funeral business.
Want to learn more? Follow Red Bags’ blog to be up to date on the latest happenings in the medical waste industry.
You Might Also Like:
- Medical Waste Around the World
- Improper Medical Waste Packaging: What You Need To Know
- Top 5 Medical Waste Violations: Is Your Facility Guilty?
- Avoid Medical Waste Risks in the Workplace