NEWS: What Happens If You Don’t Dispose Of Medical Waste Properly?
It’s reported that Americans produced approximately 292.4 million tons of solid waste in 2018, which means 4.9 pounds per person per day. The WHO reported that 15% of the waste generated by healthcare facilities is hazardous and requires careful disposal. To mitigate the risks associated with the exposure to these potentially infectious materials, hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers must take every precaution while disposing of all medical waste.
From blood banks, research facilities, and major hospitals to doctor’s offices and tattoo parlors, a number of facilities generate medical waste. While these organizations produce all kinds of waste, the most common among them are infectious waste, pathological waste, and radioactive waste.
Here’s what happens if you don’t dispose of this waste properly.
Risks to staff
If you don’t dispose of medical waste properly, your staff will be at risk. There’s a reason why infectious materials like sharps don’t go into standard waste receptacles. If someone unknowingly picks up and transports this waste, they’ll be harmed. This means that your medical support staff and workers will be exposed to devastating diseases like malaria, syphilis, Ebola, HIV, and hepatitis.
The impact of some of these diseases is life-long and may even cause death.
Risks to community
Don’t forget the community at large, and they’ll be at risk too.
If you transport medical waste conventionally, it may end up in landfills. The people living in those areas will be at considerable risk. In addition, it also leaches harmful substances into the water, land, and air.
The half-life of a lot of these substances is quite long, so they take centuries to break down. But as more waste adds up, the potency of the contamination just multiplies.
CDC recommends disposing of medical waste properly. Precisely, it wants the facilities to adhere to the standards set forth by OSHA—an agency responsible for the health and safety of the employees.
According to OSHA, puncture-proof containers must be used to dispose of all medical waste. If somehow damaged, a puncture-proof container must be transferred to another puncture-proof container. In order to adhere to federal law, every medical waste container must be labeled.
For ensuring medical waste doesn’t accumulate within a facility, it must be disposed of frequently. The facilities should also come up with a well-defined medical waste plan because failure to manage this waste can lead to penalties and hefty fines.