Proper medical waste management is the heart of sanitary industries, keeping all patients and workers safe from disease spread. If a facility has poor or missing waste management protocols, serious errors arise. Using the right medical waste containers and discarding their contents properly are crucial to a healthy care industry. Take a look at the top common errors associated with neglected waste management.
Improper Container Usage
Without stringent medical waste management protocols, personnel would quickly use the wrong containers for specific items. For instance, sharps products could end up in a container meant for soiled linens. Mixing up medical waste containers makes everyone vulnerable to possible disease spread. Someone placing scrubs in a container could prick themselves with a sharps product. Containers must be categorized and labeled to easily divide waste between receptacles.
Increase in Disease Spread or Injuries
When medical waste containers aren’t used properly, disease and injuries spread among patients and caregivers. Soiled gauze, for example, could be left on a counter within a patient’s room. A visiting child might pick up that gauze, transferring germs to their body. In severe cases, serious diseases could be spread. A wet floor presents a hazard to both caregivers and patients too. Injuries from falls can be chronic and frustrating when proper waste management could have prevented the incident entirely.
Medical Waste Management Disposal Permits Outdated
With poor medical waste management comes permit problems. Every facility must have the permits necessary to transport and discard waste appropriately. If management protocols aren’t followed, permits expire or become void from poor procedural steps. The facility must keep the waste until the permit is renewed. Stocking waste in large quantities only leads to possible disease spread at the facility.
Poor Waste Record Keeping
All medical waste must be recorded, so authorities know which facilities are generating certain trash types. Poor record keeping because of neglected waste management results in misplaced items or forgotten transport trips. Waste could actually be forgotten in a storage room with improper record keeping. Facilities must keep up with current procedures to reduce errors.
As healthcare facilities work with a waste company, their protocols may be so smooth and streamlined that containers seem to empty themselves. However, medical personnel should work frequently with their contracted disposal company to verify proper schedules and any upcoming changes. Communication within the medical and waste disposal communities must be fluid for an error-free elimination process.