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Handling Medical Waste: What Not To Do

When handling medical waste, safety precautions must be taken in order to prevent diseases or accidents. It is imperative that everyone working in a medical facility be properly trained on the correct ways to dispose of medical waste. Here are some things you should never do when dealing with medications, blood, needles, or other medical related items.

Putting Needles in Bags

Needles are one of the most notorious causes for accidental infections. They should always be placed in a designated, sealed, hard plastic container. Sharps and needles should never be placed in a bag of any kind, as they can stick through the bag and accidentally prick someone. In addition to needles, broken glass, lancets, scalpel blades, and test tubes should be disposed of in the same manner.

Mixing Medications with Waste

Pharmaceutical drugs are under very strict disposal regulations. They should never be mixed with other waste. The US Government has very stringent guidelines as to how medications should be disposed of or discarded. Clinics and hospitals should have a special container designated especially for medicinal disposal. If you're not sure how to dispose of a certain medication, ask for assistance.

Dropping Items into Medical Waste

When handling medical waste, you should not have any loose jewelry or other items on. This also includes holding onto things like keys or a cell phone while disposing of waste. If you drop something into a medical waste container, you run a serious risk of getting contaminated or infected when you attempt to retrieve the items. Always be aware of what you are holding and what could possibly fall into the containers.

Mixing Chemicals with Medical Waste

Certain chemicals and chemical containers have aerosol triggers that are highly flammable and highly combustible. Chemicals should never be added to medical waste containers, as they can increase the risk of a fire or small explosion. Even rubbing alcohol is highly flammable, and should be disposed of properly. 

Throwing X-Rays in the Trash

It might be tempting to throw used or unneeded x-rays into the trash can. The reality is that x-rays are considered hazardous waste due to the high levels of radiation they retain. X-rays can actually be recycled if given to the proper medical waste and recycling facilities, so find out if there is an option to recycle them instead of just throwing them out. Other materials that should be disposed of correctly include the developer, fixer, and lead foil all used to produce the x-ray. Talk to people like S.H Bio-Waste LTD for more information.