PPE in the Workplace: 5 Important Steps of Proper PPE Disposal

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is now a part of daily life. If you’ve implemented a personal protective equipment plan in your workplace, you’re likely searching for guidelines for proper PPE disposal. While it’s something else for operations leaders to focus on, PPE in the workplace is proven to be effective.

A recent study looked at 100 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and measured the presence of the virus in droplet and aerosol form. When patients were wearing masks, they didn’t exhale any coronavirus aerosols or droplets, adding to the body of evidence asserting that wearing masks effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Now that you know you must put a protective equipment plan into action, how are you planning to handle PPE disposal?

Keep reading to learn more about using PPE in the workplace and best practices when disposing of the contaminated materials.

What Is Personal Protective Equipment?

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is worn to minimize one’s exposure to hazards that can cause serious workplace illnesses and injuries.

These illnesses and injuries may result from contact with radiological, chemical, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other hazards. PPE may include safety glasses, gloves, earplugs or muffs, respirators, hard hats, coveralls, full body suits, and vests.

Ensuring Proper Use

All PPE should be safely designed and constructed and maintained reliably and cleanly.

PPE should fit comfortably to encourage worker use. If it doesn’t fit properly, it can mean the difference between being adequately and safely covered or severely exposed.

When work practices, engineering, and administrative controls do not provide sufficient protection, you must provide PPE to your employees and ensure that they use it properly.

You’re also required to train workers who must use personal protective equipment to know:

  • What kind is necessary
  • When it is necessary
  • How to properly put it on, wear, adjust, and take it off
  • Limitations of the PPE
  • Proper maintenance and care, useful life, and disposal

If you implement a plan to use PPE in your work environment, a program should be executed. It should address the hazards present in the workplace, the selection and use of PPE, employee training, and the plan’s monitoring to ensure ongoing effectiveness.

Implement Best Practices

Once you’ve created your PPE plan, purchase your equipment, and put it into action. It’s time to implement best practices and observe your employees and improve your plan down the road if needed.

Ensure Good Fit

First, work with your employees to ensure they know how PPE is designed to fit. If they misuse it, it won’t effectively protect the employee and those around them.

Take the time to measure each member of your team and identify which type of PPE they’ll need. When more than one type is required, make sure each item is compatible with the others.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has put forth engineering guidelines around various hazards found on job sites. Make sure you purchase PPE that adheres to these standards.

Invest in Automated Vending Machines

Make it easy for your employees to purchase or access PPE by installing PPE vending machines. Sure, the cost upfront is more, but you’ll save money, time and possibly lives in the long run.

Train your employees on how to use the machines, so they don’t waste any PPE. You’ll also need to designate an employee or team to manage the machines, so they’re always stocked and running properly.

Audit Your Equipment Continuously

Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense for you and your employees. For this reason, respect your PPE regularly to be sure it is effective at all times.

Some employees will be stubborn about wearing PPE, so instead of punishing them for not wearing it properly, ask what the problem is. Sometimes equipment makes it uncomfortable or difficult to do their job. Maybe there is something more practical and wearable that will do the job.

Create a Safety Culture Around PPE

Eventually, safe PPE practices should become part of your company’s culture. Don’t just train your employees on how to wear it, but communicate why PPE is important.

And don’t stop there. Look for new opportunities to allow your workers to guide and mentor their peers in a positive manner. Consider a PPE donning activity during a company talk or new employee mentorship program.

Perform Regular Inspections

PPE isn’t designed to last forever. You regularly audit and inspect other areas of your business for safety, so it’s equally important to conduct these regular inspections of your personal protective equipment.

Safe PPE Disposal

If personal protective equipment isn’t disposed of correctly, it can introduce more harm than good.

Imagine an employee touching potentially contaminated PPE and then going about their day, touching door handles and other surfaces. All of a sudden, the disease runs rampant throughout your organization.

The World Health Organization recommends that gloves, face masks, and paper tissues should be hygienically disposed of in a closed bin once removed safely.

Set your employees up for success by making sure you have the right facilities in place for PPE disposal:

  • Show employees and visitors that you care by offering easy PPE disposal at your workplace
  • Incorporate touch-free closed bins for high standards of hygiene
  • Treat each unit with EPA registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to kill potentially harmful viruses
  • Place disposal points throughout high-traffic areas of your facility, such as entrance and exit points, parking garages, near elevators, kitchens, lobbies, and more.

Consult OSHA Guidelines

OSHA’s Safety Health and Program Management Guidelines provide recommendations for you to consider as you build your PPE program. The guidelines cover four main areas, including:

  • Management leadership and employee involvementÂ
  • Worksite analysis
  • Safety and health training
  • Hazard prevention and control

Are You Well-Stocked With Workplace PPE?

All businesses should review their current PPE disposal procedures to ensure they’re taking appropriate steps to manage risk and hazards.

Stay one step ahead and ensure that your business is adequately protected with all of the necessary hygienic facilities onsite. Then do your due diligence to dispose of contaminated PPE properly with MedSharps.

If you’re not a current MedSharps customer and would like to request a free quote, fill out our online form or call. (888) 620-4899 today.

5 Benefits of Working With a Local Medical Waste Management Company

Hospitals produce about 2 pounds of hazardous waste per bed, per day. And this only represents about 15% of the overall waste produced per bed. To inhibit the spread of disease and minimize the risk of infection, safe medical waste management is vitally important for any medical facility.

Working with a medical waste company is an excellent way to make sure this happens appropriately. While it can seem easy to pick one of the big names in the business and be done with it, that may not always be the best choice. Check out these 5 reasons why you should work with a local company instead.

Save Time

Don’t get us wrong, large, out-of-state companies are efficient. They have to be to run a working waste disposal business. However, there are a few areas where they can’t compare.

For example, if you have an emergency with your waste you’ll first spend time on hold trying to get to the right person to handle your problem. Then, a lot of time may go by before they can mobilize and present a solution. A local company, while still having to run through the same logistics, won’t be constrained by distance and can offer a faster solution.

Save Money

While the cost isn’t necessarily your highest priority, it’s a big benefit to look for the cheapest medical waste disposal companies. These are often your local companies rather than working with a big, out-of-state one.

Transportation costs can push up the cost of waste disposal significantly. While a large company may be able to offer bulk discounts, the savings may be mitigated by how far they have to transfer the waste.

Support the Local Community

Working with any local business helps to grow the economy of your area, creates jobs, and strengthens your community. A smaller, local company will take greater pride in providing exceptional service to your medical facility.

You can also take pride in the fact that you work with a local company. Your community will see this as a way that you are trying to be responsible, both with the environment and with serving the community and keeping it clean and safe.

Compliance with Local Rules

State regulations surrounding the proper handling and disposal of medical waste vary. Local medical waste management companies are fully versed in your area’s rules so you can rest-assured that you are in compliance.

Convenience

Local medical waste pickup companies tend to be the most convenient. Being located closer makes the logistics easier for them. While an out-of-state company can have things down to a science, they are more vulnerable to traffic problems or other unforeseen circumstances.

A local company is less likely to run into logistics problems. Plus, if you need an extra pickup, it’s a simple phone call away.

Safe, Secure Medical Waste Management

Proper medical waste management has always been vitally important. Disposing of needles, blood, and other contaminated waste must be handled properly or your community can suffer.

Medical waste companies are held to a high standard and we seek to exceed it and provide the best service to our customers. Looking for a new company? Contact us today to learn about our highly efficient disposal programs.

Common Regulated Medical Waste Compliance Problems

When you think about medical waste, do you immediately think “toxic” or “disease-ridden”?

Only about 15% of medical waste is labeled as hazardous material, meaning it’s toxic, infectious, or radioactive. The other 85% is considered a non-hazardous waste.

Management of regulated waste is extremely important to lower the risk of transmitting infection.

What are the most common compliance problems that come with handling regulated medical waste? Keep reading to learn more.

What is Regulated Medical Waste?

Regulated medical waste (RMW) by definition is similar for each state yet can differ a bit depending on the state. For example, some states call RMW infectious waste and/or biohazardous waste.

An overall definition includes any waste associated with healthcare that has the potential to spread disease. Blood or other types of contamination that are not handled properly potentially pose a health or environmental threat.

What are the Most Common Problems Associated with Regulated Medical Waste?

There are different categories of medical waste and each state decides how each category should be treated. Let’s look at the categories and problems that are common to the industry.

EPA Compliance Medical Waste

The EPA does not have a central role when it comes to RMW, but they do still have some regulations regarding emissions from incinerators at hospitals and other medical facilities.

There are EPA requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act for any medical waste treatment plan or technology that uses chemicals in the treatment of medical waste.

Keeping track of the rules and regulations of all of the different agencies is important and time-consuming.

OSHA Compliance Medical Waste

OSHA defines medical waste as semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM), things that have been contaminated by both or either blood or OPIM, items caked with dried blood, and pathological and microbiological wastes that contain blood or OPIM.

OSHA regulates waste on the federal level of government. Because most rules governing medical waste come from the state level, this makes things confusing when it comes to knowing which regulations to follow.

On the other hand, OSHA regulations fill the gap for states lacking comprehensive medical waste regulations.

HIPAA Compliance Medical Waste and Medical Compliance Medical Waste

Adequate training of healthcare employees on the proper disposal of medical waste and having a regulated system of disposal is the way to stay HIPAA compliant in regards to medical waste.

There are a lot of rules regarding medical compliance for medical waste like used and unused sharps.

Document training and medical waste plan to stay compliant.

Handle With Care

Now you know the problems that are associated with regulated medical waste compliance. Do you know who you can trust as your medical waste expert? We at MedSharps offer regulated medical waste removal and treatment services to our clients.

We have a vast knowledge of compliance-related issues when disposing of medical waste. We offer scheduled collection services to quickly and safely remove your medical waste with no interruption to your normal activity.

We pay close attention to detail and base our service on moral and ethical principles.

If you’d like to receive information about our services, contact us today.

How MedSharps Is Prepared for the COVID-19 Medical Waste Surge

Hospital waste and other healthcare waste generated by such facilities equal roughly 2 million tons each year!

Hospital waste management is important for proper medical waste disposal in order to keep healthcare workers safe especially in today’s health crisis.

Medical waste management companies have to ensure the safety of the general public as well when performing the task of treating medical waste to where it is no longer infectious.

A side effect of the coronavirus pandemic you may not have thought about is an unprecedented amount of additional medical waste. Stick with us as we explore effective healthcare waste management solutions.

Medical Waste Preparedness and Solutions

Though the elimination of elective medical procedures has offset some of the rises in medical waste, the increase due to coronavirus is still a concern.

The increase we’re seeing comes from the use of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and some non-traditional waste now being classified as regulated medical waste like food from COVID-19 positive patients.

Let’s look at how MedSharps has prepared for the surge.

Medical Waste Containers

In order for the contaminated waste to be properly disposed of, it needs to go into environmentally safe containers. MedSharp containers meet all OSHA requirements and guidelines for health and safety.

Carefully packaged waste protects everyone involved in the removal of medical waste.

We remove, wash, and sanitize our reusable sharps containers and return them to our clients safe and ready to use 100+ times.

Proper Staff Training and Protection

One of the most important factors in medical waste disposal is the protection of those in charge of handling the hospital and other medical waste.

MedSharps not only handles the disposal of waste, we evaluate and train our client’s staff to ensure that proper procedures are being followed. This is more important than ever.

Ensuring that our workers have the proper protective gear for the battle with coronavirus is also part of our operational perspective as well as keeping up with any changes to CDC recommendations regarding medical waste disposal.

Treatment of Medical Waste

We have a large-scale autoclave for waste disposal and treatment. An autoclave is a strong, heated container that uses high pressures and temperatures to sterilize all waste with steam.

This is the most effective way to deal with medical waste. It reduces the risk of exposure which is extremely important with the current coronavirus.

Medical Waste Services

Now that you’ve learned about the surge due to COVID-19, you want to be extra careful when disposing of medical waste. Do you know who can ensure that your medical waste management is in the right hands?

We at MedSharps ensure that our staff performs every service we offer in full compliance with local, state, and federal laws. Our safe and compliant service takes the liability off of you.

We have on-demand customer service. Our clients can check the progress of their waste disposal 24/7. Contact us for a quote today.

How to Properly Dispose of Household Medical Waste

Do we have anything to worry about when it comes to dumping medical supplies in the trash? Harvard researchers think so.

Pharmaceuticals and medical waste that gets into water sources impacts wildlife. It can cause injuries, sterility, and even spread disease.

Are you wondering what impact your used needles are having on the environment? Are you not sure how to dispose of medical waste the right way? Learn everything you need to know about proper medical waste disposal below.

Why You Should Never Throw Medical Waste in the Trash

Used needles are biohazards. When thrown away with other trash, they can stick other humans or animals. This prick can lead to injuries and even spread disease.

You should never throw used needles in the trash because they can poke through plastic trash bags. If they reach a landfill, then they could poke unsuspecting humans or animals.

3 Ways to Dump Medical Trash

So, it’s not a great idea to get rid of needles by putting them with your household trash. What are the best ways to dispose of sharps and other medical waste then?

The first thing you need to do is discipline yourself. Never leave sharps out in the open after using them. Instead, put them in a container the moment after you use it. This important step will prevent unexpected cuts and sticks.

Once your container is about three-quarters full, it’s time to dispose of it and get a new one. Never reuse needle disposal containers. Instead, learn the three different places to dump them below.

1. Mail-Back Programs

One way to get rid of sharps in a safe way is to use a mail-back program. Here’s how the MedSharps mail-back program works:

  • You order a sharps container
  • Fill the container with used sharps
  • Put the container in a pre-paid shipping box
  • UPS will collect the package

We’ll pick up your waste at a time that fits your schedule. We can come by as often as you need. Whether you need your trash collected every week or every month, we’ll do what’s convenient for you.

Upon collection, MedSharps takes care of everything else. We’ll dispose of the container’s contents at no extra cost to you.

2. Household Hazardous Waste Collection Areas

Call your local hazardous waste collection site. Sometimes, they’ll let you drop off your sharps containers.

3. Special Residential Pick-Up Services

This option isn’t available to everyone, but some communities offer pick-up services. There’s usually a significant fee because specialists need to collect the sharps.

Disposing of Medical Waste the Right Way

For many of us, medical waste is inevitable. The destruction of our habitat doesn’t have to be, though. We have the power now to make a change and start disposing of medical trash the right way.

Do you have more questions about our medical waste disposal services? Are you interested in getting started on a proper disposal plan? Reach out to us now on our online form to request a free quote or get more information about our services.