Waste management and disposal is a problem that is faced by institutions across the globe. Hospitals are some of the biggest generators of waste, and due to the nature of their operations, this waste can come in a wide variety. Hospital waste is described as any waste that is generated in the process of diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals. The type of waste can include household items, administrative, and healthcare waste. Healthcare waste includes chemicals, expired pharmaceuticals, infectious and radioactive items, and sharps. Such items can be pathogenic or have an adverse impact on the environment. The following safety precautions should be taken during the handling and disposal of wastes.
The hospital waste disposal starts with a sterilization process to ensure that all waste is safe to handle. Non-recyclable items such as gauze and needles are made sanitary using an Autoclave, provided by specialty companies like Daniels Health, which uses steam to sterilize the objects. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and spores are all killed by the high temperatures, ensuring nothing survives before disposal.
In many countries across the world, the disposal of medical waste is regulated by the national government or local authorities. This is done to ensure public safety and avoid any chances of infectious diseases being introduced into the general populace.
In the United States, there are several federal government agencies that are tasked in one way or another with ensuring the proper disposal of medical waste. The CDC (Center for Disease Control), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) all play a role in protecting the public from any incidents that may harm the people.
Treatment and Transportation
The process by which hospital waste is moved and treated before disposal is as important as where it is disposed of. There are a few processes available in the treatment of hospital waste; thermal, irradiation, chemical, and biological. The treatment technology to be applied should reflect the nature of the waste that requires disposal so as to ensure no further waste is generated in the treatment process.
Transportation of hazardous waste is a highly regulated process across the globe. Transnational shipments require even more regulations as one would expect. Drivers of vehicles that move such waste are mandated to have specialized training on regulations, labeling, and documentation, risks and classification of different loads, as well as the safe handling and emergency procedures involved during the transportation process.
More and more hospitals are choosing to outsource their waste treatment to third party providers such as Daniels Health, that have the experience and capacity to deal with the wide range of waste that comes from such institutions.
Most integrated service providers offer hospital waste disposal materials which help in handling, storage, treatment, transport, and disposal of health waste. This allows hospitals to focus on their core mandate, which is the provision of the highest level of healthcare to their patients with minimal interruptions to their operations.