General regulations around removing clinical waste are complex and confusing, making it hard for businesses to know what is required. Here we’ll explain all the ins and outs of disposing of clinical waste, including sharps disposal, so you can run your business without worrying about these issues!
Clinical waste is a by-product of healthcare, veterinary and pharmaceutical services.
It includes the following:
- syringes, needles and lancets and other aspects of sharps disposal
- blood vials (including whole blood)
- biological waste (faecal matter, urine, tissue)
Businesses disposing of clinical waste need to know about their legal obligations.
Clinical waste is defined as the remains of medical procedures and products. It includes:
- Tiny surgical instruments, including scalpels, forceps and needles
- Cotton swabs used to clean wounds or patient’s skin
- Medicines that have been used in clinical procedures
Other types of hospital waste should be classified as clinical waste.
- Different types of hospital waste should be classified as clinical waste.
- The definition of clinical waste is broad, but it includes all the materials that make up your hospital’s daily operations: bandages, dressings, disposable instruments and other devices used in patient care. This includes syringes (including needles), blood products and other hazardous waste generated by procedures performed on patients. It doesn’t just have any old thing that looks like a medical device. It also includes cleaning supplies such as bleach or disinfectants; equipment such as wheelchairs used for moving around patients; bed linens; gowns etc.; gloves worn by staff members during health care delivery or disposal at end-of-life situations.
Is the disposal of clinical waste a safety concern for employees?
You may be wondering whether clinical waste disposal is a safety concern for employees. The answer is yes, it is. Clinical waste can be contaminated with infectious diseases, including hepatitis C and HIV. This means that an employee who handles clinical waste may get infected with these viruses if they fail to wash their hands properly after handling it or touch another person’s skin while in contact with garbage improperly disposed on the floor or ground outside your facility.
Various studies point out the impact of poor disposal on employees’ health.
Do businesses need a licence to dispose of clinical waste?
The answer is yes and no. Only companies that produce more than 50kg of clinical waste per week need a licence to dispose of clinical waste. Businesses that make less than 50kg of clinical waste per week can dispose of it for free at one of the local council collection points (this number will be displayed on your business notice board).
If you produce any clinical waste during your business activities, you must understand the regulations around its disposal.
The Environment Agency is responsible for regulating how clinical waste is managed and disposed of. They have strict rules about what can be put into landfill or incinerated. If your company generates any clinical waste, they will want to know where it is going and how it can be disposed of safely without causing pollution or harm to wildlife (or humans!).
Several agencies specialise in the field of clinical waste management. From both regulatory and ethical perspectives, an organisation must implement the highest standards of clinical waste management. It is advisable to carry out a Google search to find out details about the nearest service providers. They can also assist in choosing equipment (waste disposal) that suits your enterprise.