Just covering the basics is not enough for medical facilities. With patient’s lives in the balance, the only option is to strive for excellence, using those minimum requirements as a guiding point.
Having a medical waste removal program is a basic yet stressful requirement for all medical services providers. It’s a difficult balancing act between following the legal requirements, while still having operational efficiency. If the guidelines are too complicated or include steps that just don’t make sense in an employee’s workflow, the consequences can be downright deadly. Below are the most common pillars being covered by such plans.
Medical Waste Segregation
Ensuring that every type of medical waste is properly segregated in clearly marked receptacles is the law in many states, and while it seems like a simple task and requirement, it can get complicated.
The most important distinction to make is sharp disposables in sharp containers. The best way to ensure this is scrupulously followed by staff is still to ensure there are more than enough containers available at each step of workstations. Changing a needle or other sharp instrument is generally a stressful task that must be executed quickly, which is why it is key to make sure disposing of them is as seamless as possible. This is the kind of simple thought process that can greatly improve efficiency.
Medical Waste Storage
This is a great example of a law that is good, but so simple most people would consider it a no-brainer. All that is stated is that medical waste must be stored away from common areas.
This is an obvious step to ensure staff and patient safety, but it would also be unwise to store medical waste along with any other items, even other normal waste. It should have it’s own room or area, clearly sectioned off if the later situation is chosen. Not only is this more efficient, it’s another safeguard against containers being mixed with regular trash for instance.
HIPAA, DOT, and OSHA each require staff training by law, and they all have a set of criteria to assess it. However, training for these sets of guidelines should be done far more often than the annual requirement. It should be embedded within daily tasks to make sure the principles are well understood by your staff.
Even with a solid plan, you’re still at risk of violations if your staff doesn’t understand what they have to follow. While the EPA and OSHA both offer resources for training programs, it’s often a good idea to hire a specialized consultant who understands well the niche you’re in, and has executed a similar plan in a facility that is closely related to yours.
Going above and beyond the law is not only a duty for medical facilities, it’s also a great way of showing your patients that you care. Be proud of the steps you took, shows off your certifications, and clearly explain the plan to not only your staff but your patients when requested. Any kind of medical procedure is a stressful situation for the patient, no matter how much we make the environment comfortable. A properly displayed and explain waste management plan is another great way to make them feel safer, and continue to choose your establishment.
Learn more about OSHA Compliance, Medical Waste Management and Services and more, by getting in touch with Enviromerica today. We can ensure that you receive the best advice for optimizing your healthcare practice.