Clinical waste has the potential to transmit infectious diseases or pose other hazardous risks and its correct segregation, handling and disposal is essential to protect healthcare workers, waste handlers, the public and the environment.
What is clinical waste?
Clinical waste is any waste arising from health care facilities. These include hospitals, physicians offices, dental practices, blood banks, vet hospitals/clinics, research facilities and laboratories, as well as tattooists, mortuaries, body piercing and other similar practices.
Hazardous wastes arising from healthcare facilities comprise Clinical Wastes such as bandages, tissue, needles and other sharps, etc, that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials and have the potential to transmit infectious diseases. Other hazardous wastes such as waste chemicals and waste medicines may present a toxicity risk to handlers or the environment.
Avoidable ill health effects
Although the disease-causing potential of clinical waste is greatest at the point of generation (tapering off with time), incorrect disposal can have adverse outcomes not just for nurses and doctors, but for other healthcare such as housekeeping staff who clear the waste from patient rooms. In addition, other workers may be at risk such as contractors who handle, transport and process the wastes, or work at landfills. Unless these wastes are contained correctly (in designated bags and bins), the environment may also be at risk through soil leachate to streams, and wind-borne wastes.
It is vital that correct segregation and containment starts at the very point that waste is generated, i.e. in the patient’s room, operating theatre, etc. You can’t see infection, so all wastes contaminated with blood or body fluids are assumed to be infectious and must be segregated as such.
There are many infectious disease endemics (occurring routinely) in the Australian population. The three most commonly mentioned are HIV, hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, and currently in Australia we know that 25,000 individuals have HIV and any of these individuals may be a patient in healthcare facility for reasons not in any way connected to their infection.
So it is important, at all times, to take a methodical, safe approach when handling and disposing of clinical waste.
How do we address clinical waste?
For the above reasons, when discarding clinical waste, it is important to employ a reputable, experienced clinical waste management company. The Toxfree group has acquired Daniels Health, the largest clinical waste management company in Australia whose products and services have been proven superior in peer-reviewed studies published in medical journals. This acquisition has bolstered our health management services considerably and provided an impressive alignment of services.
We are able to address waste consisting of sharps, cytotoxic, clinical, pharmaceutical and genetically modified materials, which assures that any clinical waste you have will be addressed in a safe, comprehensive and professional manner.
Contact us today to find how we can make your healthcare facility a safer, compliant environment.