A pathogen is a bacterium, virus or other microorganism that can cause disease. When disposing of infectious waste, it’s vital to carry out the proper actions to prevent pathogens spreading.
Waste of an infectious nature has the potential to cause serious illness, mortality and wider hazards to human health or the environment.
These potential hazards increase when the waste is improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of or otherwise managed. Because of this, there are specialist treatment and disposal procedures to minimise the danger of infectious waste.
Does Your Business Handle Infectious Waste?
A range of business types produce infectious waste, including but not limited to:
- General Practice surgeries
- Nursing homes
- Veterinary facilities
- Various bodily treatment services
Waste is considered infectious when it has the following characteristics:
- Cultures and stocks of infectious agents
- Pathological contents
- Human blood and blood products
- Sharps used in patient and animal care
- Laboratory usage
- Dialysis usage
The primary responsibility for the safe disposal of infectious waste lies with the party that produced the waste. This means business owners, assigned “responsible persons” and those physically handling the waste at its origins are to be held responsible.
This primary responsibility remains present even when there are other parties involved in handling the waste. This is why it’s important for business owners to ensure their waste disposal methods are properly accredited – i.e. using a professional provider with a waste carrier license.
Business owners should also remain aware of local regulations, as these can vary. At Direct365, we observe differing regulations to ensure that company’s nationwide are always compliant.
#StaySafe – Ways to Stop the Spread
Identify the Waste
Recognition is the first way to ensure waste is dealt with properly. Once the waste is classified as infectious, it should always be segregated according to its degree of potential hazard (i.e. separated from other waste streams).
Businesses can then ensure that the proper practices remain attached to the waste – e.g. clear and safe packaging, then appropriate containment until decontamination or inactivation is complete.
One problem with infectious waste is the possibility of “occupational exposure”. Because of risks associated with being around infectious materials, handling the waste should be performed in an efficient manner (minimising the potential for exposure).
Treatment should be applied on the waste to decontaminate it – certain specialist businesses may perform this themselves, but usually this is done at a waste treatment site after disposal.
Educate and Implement
Ultimately, it’s up to business owners to educate themselves and employees regularly and ensure these safe practices are strictly implemented. In the UK, this responsibility lies within all businesses’ Duty of Care.
Trust in Accredited Waste Carriers
If you’re looking for a Waste Disposal Provider you can rely on, look no further. To find out more about our clinical and healthcare waste services, visit our website here.