Medical Waste Removal: It’s Not Just for Hospitals
Sharps containers and colored medical disposal bags are a common sight at hospitals, medical clinics, and doctor’s offices; but there are many other types of businesses that generate medical waste. Regardless of the type or quantity created by businesses, they all require a medical waste management plan.
OSHA’s blood-borne pathogen standard protects “employees who work in occupations where they are at risk of exposure to blood or potentially infectious materials.” This means that any industry where needles are used or where medical waste is created falls under this standard, and regulations must be followed to maintain compliance.
Regardless of the regulations, laws, and potential fines from OSHA, HIPAA, the FDA, or the EPA; improper handling of medical waste can compromise the safety of staff, patients, customers, and the general public. It can also lead to serious issues like environmental pollution.
Here are a few examples of businesses that might need a medical waste management plan
- Dental Offices/Oral Surgeons – In many cases, dentists and oral surgeons use the same tools and equipment you’d find in a clinic or hospital. Sharps, blood-contaminated waste and other bio-hazardous materials require the correct containers and a waste management plan to ensure proper disposal.
- Spas/Beauty Salons/Estheticians – These types of facilities often use needles for injectable beauty products. Any gauze or tissue that comes into contact with blood needs to be treated as medical waste. These facilities are held to the same OSHA standards as hospitals or medical clinics.
- Pharmacies – Many pharmacies offer seasonal flu shots or other vaccines to their customers. The used syringes need to be disposed of properly in a sharps container to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.
- Veterinary Practices – Even though the patients aren’t human, veterinarians still use syringes to administer shots, and certain surgical procedures will create biohazardous medical waste.
- Tattoo Studios – The needle a tattoo artist uses should be considered a sharp because it can be contaminated with blood and could present a hazard if not properly disposed of. An industry-standard sharps container should be part of their waste management plan. This includes any needles used for body piercings.
- Acupuncture and Alternative Medicine – Acupuncture needles are not reusable in any situation. They are considered medical sharps and must be discarded after use. Alternative medicine practitioners also fall under OSHA guidelines when it comes to medical waste management.
- Morgues/Funeral Homes – Any medical waste produced from autopsies or preparing a body for burial is also held to OSHA standards when it comes to medical waste disposal.
- Law Enforcement/First Responders – When responding to any incident, there is always the danger of needles or other hazardous sharps being present. Used needles can still transmit viruses like hepatitis and HIV. A proper disposal method is vital to keeping the first responders and officers safe from harm.
If your business falls into one of these categories, MedSharps can create a medical waste management plan tailored to your needs and budget. We also keep you up to date on all the regulations to keep your business in compliance.