The waste that’s created in the health sector is considerable. Whether that’s in a hospital setting, a downtown clinic, in a dental surgery, or even at a pharmacy, it adds up fast. There is also the potential for the transmission of germs or diseases from tools used to treat patients too.
Also, with what some may consider ‘sharpies’ such as scalpels or needles, there’s a real potential to get accidentally spiked or cut up. So, a reliable program must be in place to manage clinical waste to avoid it remaining on-site or becomes a potential hazard.
Here are 4 benefits of competent and safe removal of waste for the broader health profession.
- Clinical Waste Disposal Compliance Avoids Large Fines
When it comes to clinical waste disposal, health-related facilities must dispose of it properly. There are state and federal laws in place to ensure compliance. Regulations include those from OSHA, the CDC, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because the issue has overlap with all three institutions.
Failure to comply with the safe disposal of medical waste can lead to substantial fines. Therefore, it’s less costly and problematic to arrange for regular disposal services than it is to risk a huge fine.
- Human Safety
Waste can also include human tissue and remnants from medical procedures. It’s not just disposable swabs, plasters, and health-related products alone.
When medical waste is not disposed of safely, it’s likely to contaminate other areas. Needles packed into plastic bags can break the bag and fall on the floor. Attempting to collect them can lead to people getting stuck with the needle and possibly becoming infected as a result.
- Better for the Environment
Toxic hospital waste can be harmful to humans but also the larger environment too. When it comes into contact with rainwater, it can lead to contaminants entering the drainage system or into water resources or local habitats. Animals find water wherever they can get it, so when contaminants reach them, they’ll often find it and then disease can spread quickly.
It can also affect food stocks because we eat fish from the rivers and sea. Livestock may also be affected because of runoff water. Without a doubt, when it comes to the environment, it’s always best to arrange for the proper disposal of medical waste.
- Reduces Infections Inside the Hospital
Unfortunately, getting sicker while in hospital can compound the reason(s) that the patient already became an in-patient. Infections acquired while at the hospital affect patients but also hospital staff too.
The possibility of infections is reduced by hand washing, using sterile equipment, and the rapid collection and removal of waste. It helps to prevent infections moving through the healthcare facility on a repeating cycle and keeps staff safer too.
The substantial reduction in needle sticks from stray used needles not disposed of immediately is particularly beneficial. It can dramatically reduce the spread of hepatitis, HIV, and other highly infectious diseases from an affected patient to someone else.
Clinical waste needs to be responsibly managed. Otherwise, it can quickly pose a serious risk to the long-term health of humans, animals, the food supply, and the environment too.