As a business you have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for your employees, customers and visitors. This includes providing a clean environment that safeguards people from needle-stick injuries or exposure to medical waste. Safe Work Australia states “Where practicable, sharps bins/containers should be installed in public toilets and similar places to reduce the number of inappropriately discarded sharps.” The same goes for the washrooms at your premise.
The below provides an overview of EPA Guidelines for Medical Waste – storage, transport and disposal SA Sept 2003 legislation.
Legislation states that there is a requirement for the storage of medical waste to be done so in manner that is not offensive and minimises the threat to health, safety or the environment. All medical waste containers need to be stored in a secure location and that all necessary equipment required to clean and disinfect the area in case of accidental spillage is easily available and accessible. Note, you should treat any waste mixed with medical waste, as medical waste.
The disposal of sharps such as needles, syringes with needles and surgical instruments should not incorporate cutting, bending or any other manipulation that could generate aerosols or splatter contaminated fluids.
Sharps should be placed in a suitable container that is puncture resistant, leak-proof, shatter proof and able to withstand heavy handling. It should display the universal biohazard label and have a label clearly indicating its contents. The container should have an opening which is accessible, safe to use, and designed so that it is obvious when it’s full. Finally, it should be sealed when full or ready for disposal and be handled without danger of the contents spilling or falling out.
Medical waste needs to be collected by a transporter, licensed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to collect and transport such waste. Any company wishing to transport its own waste is required to be licensed to transport medical waste.
Medical waste must be destroyed in an incinerator licensed by the regulatory authority in the state or territory in which the incinerator is located.
Where an incinerator is not available, medical waste may be disposed of at solid waste landfill depots licensed to receive the waste. However the medical waste must be placed at the foot of the operating face or into a hole excavated at the depot in such a manner as to prevent contact with the public. It must also be covered with other wastes or clean fill while the waste transporter is present.
Initial Hygiene provides a dedicated service to support the collection, transport and disposal of medical waste. This includes ensuring all medical waste is destroyed by incineration and that the containers we use comply with legislation. Our team is highly trained to handle medical waste and are equipped with appropriate safety clothing.