Red Bags’ Medical Waste Equipment 101
Proper medical waste disposal relies on the right equipment.
Medical waste disposal plans help identify and reduce risks of infections in patients and healthcare workers, but any good plan requires proper equipment to make the plan functional to prevent lapses, mistakes, and health risks. Healthcare facilities and other institutions that deal with hazardous or medical waste must make it a top priority to prevent the spread of infection.
Here is the equipment your facility needs to maintain compliance, safety, and protection.
Proper Containers With Labels In Restricted Areas
Biohazard waste containers control the spread of disease. Medical waste containers include:
- Red bags: One type of collection method is a red bag, also known as “red bag waste.” As the name suggests, a red bag is a red plastic bag, but it is only used for the disposal of non-sharp and potentially infectious biohazardous waste.
- Sharps containers: Because sharps have potential disease-carrying blood or other potentially infectious materials on them, they are capable of spreading disease, therefore must be disposed of in a sharps container. Sharps containers are regulated by the FDA as a Class II general hospital medical device through the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It has published a detailed list of questions product evaluators should ask when selecting a sharps container that manufacturers should consider in the design process. These include puncture resistance, safety features, opening and closing mechanisms, potential for spillage, ease of use, safe transport, autoclaving capability, handling procedures, container color and warning labels, overfill protection, container access, mounting systems, and cost effectiveness.
- Pharmaceutical containers: These receptacles should not be kept near the regular trash to avoid putting biohazardous waste where it doesn’t belong. For example, controlled substances in their original container which need to be disposed of should remain in the original container with the volume recorded. Facilities need to use the proper disposal form. Keep marked containers in an area that is only accessible to trained staff and physicians to avoid the spread of infection.
OSHA offers standards and regulations that are very strict and specific for biohazard clean up in the workplace. Employers must ensure that their facility has the correct cleaning supplies to deal with these hazards and must inform employees of where hazardous materials are located and stored. This includes, but is not limited to germicidal cloths, personal protection kits, bloodborne pathogens response kits, solidifiers for medical waste, medical-grade disinfectants, and chemical spill kits.
Easy Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Workers are more susceptible to contamination because of their increased exposure to blood, bodily fluids, respiratory secretions, and direct contact with other infectious materials. Staff should have easy access to PPE, such as gloves, eyewear, masks, and aprons and gowns.
Proper medical waste disposal isn’t just about preventing the spread of illness between patients and staff; it’s also a fundamental step in stopping the wider community from being affected by potential outbreaks and requires the proper equipment that is readily available and easily accessible to staff.
Red Bags can help your facility design and implement a safety program complete with the right equipment to ensure your compliance and safety.
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