The Scariest Medical Waste Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Is your office making these scary (and costly!) medical waste mistakes?

Laboratories, hospitals, private practices, dental facilities, and even veterinary offices are all places that produce medical waste, and they are required by federal, state, and even local laws, to create a medical waste removal plan.

Despite the abundance of information on proper disposal and the laws that back this up, there is still an abundance of scary mistakes that medical waste generators make with their medical waste removal. Not only is this a compliance issue, it’s an environmental and health issue that can be frightening (and costly!) if ignored.

Here are some of the scariest medical waste mistakes generators make.

Skimping On Medical Waste Packaging

Biohazardous waste must be stored properly in order for it to be transported for removal. Shippers must ensure compliance with the U.S. DOT Hazardous Material Regulations for ground transport. The DOT requires that medical waste shippers receive general awareness, security awareness, and function-specific training.

Do you store your medical waste properly? Are you skimping on medical waste packaging? Contaminated sharps must be placed in containers that are puncture resistant, sealable, leak-proof, and labeled or color-coded. Specimens of blood or other biohazardous materials must be placed in a container that is labeled and color coded and closed prior to being stored, transported, or shipped.

A good rule to remember: the higher (and scarier!) the risk a type of infectious waste poses to the environment and to humans, the higher standard of container you need.

Putting Waste in the Wrong Container

Not all containers for medical waste are created equal. Many states categorize waste into sub-categorizes, such as cultures and stocks, human blood, blood products, sharps, and animal waste. Keeping different types of medical waste separate and using properly marked containers is not only mandated by law, it helps you choose how and when, not to mention whom removes the waste for you.

Inadequate signage

Hazardous waste requires special handling, disposal, and storage. Both the EPA and DOT have requirements that must be met in order to properly store and dispose of waste. Failure to post signage about restricted areas, hazardous containers, or infection control can put staff and patients at serious risk, resulting in outcomes far too frightening to realize.

Inconsistent training of staff

A compliant, safe, and efficient medical waste removal program is only as strong as the people who implement and follow it. One of the top mistakes medical waste generators make is not training staff consistently. It is imperative that facilities employ the use of the resources available, not only because it’s the law, but a streamlined program mitigates risk. Agencies like the EPA and OSHA offer resources for medical waste producers to help prepare a training program that will ensure the safety of workers, as well as decrease the chances of infection and contamination.

Red Bags can help you develop a program for proper and compliant medical waste removal through our OSHA training program.

The best way to avoid these frightening medical waste mistakes is to work with a certified and professional medical waste disposal provider like Red Bags.

Want to learn more? Follow Red Bags’ blog to be up to date on the latest happenings in the medical waste industry.

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Medical Waste Mistakes


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