There are all types of waste which have to be managed differently such as chemical waste and medical waste, and today we are going to take a look into how medical waste in particular is handled. Whilst hospitals do have some level of general waste which is managed in the same way as our own household trash, there are many types of waste which come from hospitals that has to be managed differently. There are many risks associated with this waste such as infection of those who come into contact with it, which is exactly why it is so important that it is handled in the right way.
Here is what general happens with most medical waste.
How It Is Handled On Site
Medical waste is broken down into a number of categories and hospitals must ensure that they handle it in the right way and that they place it into the right places. In order to make this process easier waste types are color coded so as to avoid any kind of cross contamination. Sharps are disposed separately from cytotoxic waste, human tissue, blood and other bodily fluids are also stored differently and so on.
Disposing of Waste
Private companies generally deal with the disposal and the management of the waste and they do so in a variety of ways. For the most part however this waste is eventually incinerated. This means that the waste is placed into large ovens which introduce an incredibly high temperature which can melt just about anything that gets in its way. What we also see in the case of many waste products is a process called autoclaving, which is where chemical steam is blasted at the waste in order to kill off any microorganisms which still remain. Once the autoclaving process is complete, the waste is then deemed to be clean enough to be burned.
When the waste is burned in the incinerator waste management companies have to ensure that they are taking all precautions in disposing of the smoke which comes out of the oven. In order properly clean this smoke, it is faced through a series of chemically treated filters which gradually clean the smoke until it is suitable to be released into the atmosphere.
Staff who deal with waste such as this will have to wear the correct safety equipment when they handle it, this is a legal responsibility which they have. Their bodies will be covered from top to toe, and they will also have to wear standard issue gloves, face masks and goggles to ensure that there is no risk associated with the bacteria, cells or microorganisms which feature in the waste that has come from the hospital.
It is critical that we have a lawful and responsible approach to the disposal of medical waste, because the risks of infections from this waste are simply too high. This is why authorities carry out regular checks on the way in which waste is being handled.