Each year, millions of pounds of hospital waste are disposed of incorrectly. When you run a hospital, the stakes are even higher when it comes to your cleaning department. A standard office cleaning service many not be familiar with strict HIPPA, OSHA and blood-borne pathogen disposal guidelines. With so many regulatory agencies you have to answer to, its imperative that your hospital cleaning departments follow these stringent guidelines and you want to ensure that your hospital is disposing of blood-borne pathogens, drugs and hazardous waste correctly.
There are strict guidelines set up through the DEA that controlled substances should not be thrown in with regular trash. Controlled substances should be shipped to appropriate facilities for controlled substances. Examples can include half empty I.V. Morphine drip bags, Codeine tablets and Lorazepam.
With specific EPA guidelines for hazardous P- and U-listed waste, they must be disposed of properly. This type of waste can harm the environment and be a contaminant for drinking water. Staff should know that P-listed waste should be labeled in waste bags marked hazardous and clearly labeled as hazardous. Over 2 ½ lbs., they should then be transferred to waste containers for hazardous waste. U-listed waste can be disposed of in varying amounts with examples including Epinephrine, Warfarin, and Nicotine.
Yellow containers are used for trace drugs, while black containers are used for bulk items. This is based on EPA guidelines for emptying empty and half-empty I.V. bags. For example, chemotherapy treatment drug I.V. bags that have no more than 3% volume in them are considered RCRA empty and should be placed in yellow containers. Larger amounts should go into black containers with disposal of the containers handled by your hazardous waste removal company.
To ensure the proper disposal of hazardous waste, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA, has set up strict guidelines with the EPA. All containers should be labeled clearly and marked to indicate if they are D-, P, or U-listed waste.
Training your staff and hospital cleaning department are essential to ensuring proper waste disposal techniques. All staff including custodians should be trained on HIPPA guidelines, disposal of blood-borne pathogens and proper container usage.
If you’re not sure if your staff is up to date on all HIPPA and OSHA guidelines or if you are concerned about the proper labeling of waste and the proper waste containers, contact Summit Janitorial Services. With over 20 years of experience in helping hospitals and other medical facilities with their waste disposal, they can help you with waste bags, labeling, and proper container usage. If you have questions about waste services or would like to start a new hospital waste service at your hospital or other facility, call (864) 277-3538. Contact Summit Janitorial Services today!