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Easily Overlooked Medical Waste Disposal Mistakes You Want To Ensure You're Avoiding

by Antonin Fontai

In any medical facility, the proper disposal of medical waste is just as important as the level of care provided to each and every patient. For this reason, medical providers need to be especially diligent when it comes to their disposal practices. Here are just some of the practices you want to ensure you're avoiding in your office to keep everyone safe.

Only Being Concerned With Syringes And Needles

While you want to make sure you dispose of objects like syringes and needles correctly, you also want to ensure you are mindful of other potentially harmful objects. Root canal files, glass pipettes, scalpel blades and lancets are just some of the other sharp objects you want to dispose of properly.

Whether these objects have come in contact with a patient or not, they still pose a risk to staff and other patients who may come in contact with them. Make sure your staff understands that all sharp objects pose some level of risk.

Misinterpreting Pharmaceuticals As Medical Waste

Ensure your office has clearly-marked, separate disposal areas for pharmaceuticals and medical waste. In terms of safety, pharmaceutical waste has a different disposal process than medical waste. Some items placed in a medical waste container can be sterilized and reused, such as a scalpel blade.

If there are pharmaceuticals that come in contact with the blade, once it is rinsed, there is also the potential for the medicine to go down the drain and make its way into the main water supply. In small doses, this might seem harmless, but if this is a regular practice, it can be harmful for the entire community.  

Letting The Bio-Hazard Bag Stick Out

When the bio-hazard bag you use inside your waste container is exposed, this also means the bag isn't sealed inside the container as it should be. Bio-hazard bags are designed to contain waste, but when the bag is partially open, it can't perform this duty fully.

Bacteria from feces and other bodily fluids can easily spread along the inside of the bag's liner. Should the bacteria continue to spread along the areas of the bag that is exposed, your staff and patients could be at risk. Make sure your staff members put the bags into container correctly to protect everyone's safety.

Providing the best medical care to your patients also involves ensuring their safety within the office. Make sure everyone on your team is doing their part towards accomplishing this goal.