The Dos and Dont’s of Managing Bio-Medical Waste in HospitalsSurbhi Dixit
Introduction – The Meaning of Bio-Medical Waste
Biomedical waste means solid and liquid waste, including containers and intermediate products, generated in the diagnosis, treatment, immunization, or related research, manufacture, or testing of humans or animals. These components’ biological and physicochemical properties, potential hazards, and toxicity are different, and their treatment/disposal requires different methods/options.
Biomedical waste classification
Biomedical waste was divided into the following different categories.
Ingredients of biomedical waste
- Human anatomical waste includes organs, body parts, tissues, etc.)
- Animal waste, during research/experiment, from veterinary clinics, etc.
- Disposable drugs and cell statics
- Contaminated waste such as bandages, bandages, gypsum models, substances contaminated with blood, etc.,
- Solid waste (excluding sharp objects, tubes, catheters)
- Disposable items such as liquid waste from one of the infected areas, incinerated ash, and chemical waste.
Classification of biomedical waste
The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations specialized body for international public health, classifies medical waste into eight categories.
- General waste
- Infections caused due to potentially infectious waste
- Pressurized containers
Health hazards associated with poor management of Bio-medical waste
- Injuries from sharp objects to medical facility staff and waste disposal companies.
- Nosocomial infection (HAI) (nosocomial infection) of patients due to the spread of infection
- Risk of infection of garbage collectors/scavengers and, in some cases, the general public outside the hospital.
- Occupational risks related to dangerous chemicals, medicines, etc.
- Unauthorized repacking and sale of disposable items and unused/expired medicines.
- Management issues related to the disposal of biomedical waste
Management principles are based on the following aspects:
- Waste reduction/management (inventory control, consumables, reagents, damaged waste, etc.).
- Annex I of the above regulations classify different types of waste into different categories, depending on the treatment/disposal options.
- The separate collection and final processing/disposal to transport to prevent mixing.
- Proper handling and final disposal by regulations.
- Safe handling, complete care/protection against operational hazards of all levels of personnel.
- Appropriate organization and management
- The danger of improper disposal of biomedical waste is a source of concern worldwide, especially about human, health, and environmental implications.
Dos and Don’ts of proper biomedical waste disposal
Hospital waste is known to have harmful effects on the environment, including humans, during patient care. The problem of waste disposal in hospitals and other medical facilities is becoming more and more concerned.
In light of this environmental problem, here are some things you should and should not do:
- Advice on proper disposal of biomedical waste Immediately dispose of used medical supplies and other sharp objects in a suitable biomedical waste container. This reduces the risk of needle sticks, punctures, and loosening of sharp objects.
- Use FDA-approved containers for biomedical waste. Use products of high quality, corrosion resistance, strength, and durability. The range should be developed with customer preferences and requirements in mind.
- Be sure to seal the medical waste and separate it according to the appropriate waste container.
- Label them appropriately and check local guidelines for proper disposal.
- If you use sharp objects at home (for example, to give insulin or other medications), make sure you have a suitable trash can around your home.
- You can also contact your local garbage collector to find out about a sharp object disposal program in your area.
- Ask your doctor or local hospital where and how to get an FDA-approved biomedical waste container. This will allow you to dispose of needles and other sharp objects properly.
- Keep all sharp, pointed waste containers out of the reach of children and pets, and report any problems with the sharp objects or the container.
- Proper disposal of biomedical waste – Throw any used loose needles, capped syringes, sharp objects, and other medical waste in the regular trash can. Rinse toilet needles and other sharp objects.
- Put needles and other sharp objects in the trash. Remember that they are not recyclable and can accidentally cut or stab someone. Try bending, breaking, removing, or resealing the needles used by others. This can lead to needlesticks and, in turn, severe infections.
- Do not attempt to remove the needle without a suitable needle cutter. The needle may fall, be lost, or someone may be injured. Use substandard bottles for biomedical waste.
- Do not move medical waste-If the facility is moving, do not carry medical waste. Ensure that a properly licensed medical waste carrier collects the waste for transportation.
- Do not throw aerosols, alcohol, or chemicals into medical waste-see expert advice on how to dispose of chemicals you may have collected, even in small amounts.
- Do not dispose of medicines in medical waste-best practice is to dispose of medicines in special containers for medical waste. Regulations also provide for the proper disposal of these drugs.
- Do not leave the waste container open or leave the full waste container open. A complete waste container can tip over and spill potentially infectious contents.
- Do not ignore the required medical waste treatment training-OSHA is a documented annual training on blood-borne pathogens for those exposed to potentially pathogenic bacteria in medical waste.
About Biomedical waste management and Segregation
Step 1 – Identifying the various components of the generated waste Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Regulations, 1998. This waste must be separated into containers/bags at the time of generation according to Appendix II of the Regulations before storage, transportation, processing, and disposal. This helps to identify the various components of health waste quickly.
- Documentation of medical/biomedical practices/procedures for each medical facility by recording the categories of waste generated by Appendix I of the Regulation.
- Assessment of current practices and responsibilities (as described above).
- Assessment of the ongoing cost of disposal of hazardous waste.
- Develop effective biomedical waste management policies/plans following regulations.
- Implement the plan.
Waste storage is required in two places:
(i) storage at the place of origin
(ii) common storage of all waste within the medical facility.
Untreated waste cannot be stored for more than 48 hours.
Step 2 – Segregation of waste according to proper recommended labeling and color-coding
Sharp objects should be stored in puncture-resistant containers for sharp objects. However, it must be cut with a needle cutter on the department/station itself before it can be placed in the container.
The bag/container should not be filled more than 3/4 of its capacity. In addition, under Annex III of the Regulation (Annex 7.2), an attempt should be made to specify a fixed position for each container so that it is marked with the symbol “Biohazard” or “Cytotoxicity.”
How to dispose of the waste in biomedical bins?
Step 3 – How do you dispose of waste in a biomedical container?
Because patient health is vital to the hospital, the hospital should adequately dispose of biomedical waste. Using the appropriate bottles for biomedical waste will help protect the patient from additional illnesses transmitted. Hospital staff and managers are responsible for disposing of biomedical waste in proper containers. This is only the first step in properly disposing of biomedical waste according to state and federal guidelines.
Step 4 – Collection of Waste
As soon as the waste is separated into a suitable biomedical container, the medical waste company collects the waste. Then, take the garbage to a treatment facility and dispose of it properly before disposing of. Proper disposal of biomedical waste is a global humanitarian issue today; therefore, assistance is needed in disposing of medical waste in a suitable biomedical container.
The treatment of biomedical waste has become a significant issue and concern for medical facilities and the environment. Bio-medical unregulated waste becomes a significant public health problem that poses a severe threat to human health and safety and the environment of future generations. Biomedical waste depends on multiple factors and is generated from health care units. Therefore, hospitals need to follow stringent protocols for occupancy of healthcare units, waste management, the ratio of reusable items in use, type of health care units, specialization of healthcare units, availability of infrastructure and resources, and more.