Archive for: Waste Management

Our expert answers a couple of reader questions related to waste disposal

By: February 19th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

When you’ve got healthcare safety or standards questions, we’ve got answers. More specifically, we’ve got a stable of industry experts who are only an email away and are willing and able to give you the guidance you are seeking.

This time, we turned to Dan Scungio, MT(ASCP), SLS, the laboratory safety officer for Sentara Healthcare in Virginia, to answer a pair of waste disposal questions recently posed by our readers. Scungio, aka “Dan, the Lab Safety Man,” writes a monthly column for our monthly Medical Environment Update newsletter.

Question No. 1, from a blog commenter named Sarah Winters: “I am the nursing supervisor for a school district. At the end of every year, the nurses at the schools close and seal their full sharps boxes and transport them in their vehicles to [our] central office, where I then take them to EMS for disposal. A safety/health inspector has told us this is unsafe and violates the OSHA standard. I cannot find how that violates any OSHA regulation. Suggestions? Resources? Thanks.”

Answer from Dan, the Lab Safety Man: “OSHA does not directly regulate the transport of hazardous waste, but the U.S. Department of Transportation does. The DOT states that if you are not in the business of transporting hazardous materials, the process of sharps transport for the schools falls under the DOT’s Materials of Trade exemption. That means it is acceptable to transport used sharps in your private vehicle provided they are packaged in containers constructed of a rigid material that is resistant to punctures and securely closed to prevent leaks. That said, individual state regulations may supersede federal DOT rules, so it is important to know what the transport laws are in your specific state.”

Question No. 2, submitted anonymously via email: “Can we dispose of irrigation fluid from the anterior chamber of the eye in the regular garbage if not visibly contaminated with blood and is self-contained in a sealed bag?”

Answer from Dan, the Lab Safety Man: “Eye irrigation fluid may not be considered an infectious waste if it does not contain blood, but it is probably not a good idea to place it into the regular (non-hazardous) waste stream. It is important to consider those who handle the trash after it leaves your site. If there is breakage of a sealed container or bag that creates an exposure, that would create a scenario that will raise questions for the person exposed and a situation that should be avoided.”

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How do you store, manage, and access your MSDS?

By: November 14th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Many workplaces are going paperless with their MSDS, storing them as PDFs or relying on fax-on-demand services. Others are sticking with paper, or are using a combination of electronic and paper files. How does your facility acquire, store, and manage access to your MSDS?

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Ask the expert: Medical waste manifests

By: September 7th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: How long must our practice keep EPA manifests for medical waste?

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New Jersey does its thing for illegal medical waste dumping

By: May 11th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Here’s a “Jersey thing” that shouldn’t be limited to just the Garden State.

A bill that would suspend the license of a doctor who illegally dumps medical waste has unanimously passed the New Jersey Assembly, reports the The Star-Ledger, May 9.

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Disposing of extra costs in regulated medical waste contracts

By: November 3rd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Getting down and dirty in knowing your regulated medical waste (RMW) generation and disposal needs is the best way of making sure you’re getting good value for your disposal bucks. Here are some tips from Wes Sonnier, president of BioMedical Waste Solutions in Port Arthur, TX:

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Medical Environment Update—Wasting away in regulated medical waste land

By: November 3rd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Information on what you should know about regulated medical waste (RMW), your contract for services, and how your contractor can help you be in compliance with federal state regulations is the focus of the November issue of Medical Environment Update.

Here is what the feature article covers:

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EPA wants public opinion on unused pharmaceutical disposal

By: September 10th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

EPA is requesting public comments on a draft guidance document titled Best Management Practices for Unused Pharmaceuticals at Health Care Facilities, for the study of unused pharmaceutical disposal at healthcare facilities.

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Clinic waste contaminates garbage man

By: February 19th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

If you’ve ever gagged at having to swallow your pride at work, be thankful that medical waste was not also on the menu.

A story from “down under” graphically illustrates for healthcare facilities the importance of proper disposal of regulated medical and pharmaceutical waste.

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Law passed to save Jersey Shore

By: January 21st, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Don’t get excited, or in an uproar for that matter; the headline does not protect MTV’s reality show of the same name from cancellation. It refers to New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s signing into law a measure to toughen the financial penalties against illegal ocean dumping.

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Disposing of clear transport bags for medical specimens

By: January 14th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: If I use a clear bag with a biohazardous waste symbol on it to transport lab specimens, does it need to be treated as regulated medical waste or regular trash? The bag is used as a secondary container for transportation, and are not visibly soiled, but the biohazard symbol is embedded on it.

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Fluorescent bulb disposal

By: December 17th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Disposal of fluorescent bulbs is regulated by local and state landfill requirements. As an example, here is what the Nebraska state laws requires:

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Handling different types of lab waste

By: October 22nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Chemical waste must be handled according to the manufacturer’s requirements on the material safety data sheets (MSDS). Hazardous chemical disposal is regulated through state and local governmental agencies. It is important to get proper authorization from these agencies to dispose of the chemicals and utilize licensed lab-packing companies to package and ship the chemical waste for proper disposal.

Regulated waste is placed in containers that are closable and constructed to contain all contents and to prevent fluids from leaking during handling, storage, transport, or shipping. The containers are labeled and closed before removal to prevent the contents from spilling or protruding during handling, storage, transport, or shipping. If outside contamination of the regulated waste container occurs, it is placed in a second container that has the same qualities as the first (e.g., closable, leak-proof) and is handled in the same manner.

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