Waste Management. Course Description

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1 Waste Management Course Description After completing this training course you will be familiar with the correct handling and disposal of waste materials generated through the provision of PoCT (Point of Care Testing) services. This module will educate you on the different types of waste material generated, and your responsibilities to ensure both your s and your patient s health and safety in regards to it. Please note you must be registered on the site in order to enrol on the course.

2 Introduction Waste is anything discarded by an individual, household or organisation. As a result waste is a complex mixture of different substances, only some of which are intrinsically hazardous to health. The generation, transport and disposal of wastes may present threats to the environment and public health, but potential impacts depend on the types of waste management options chosen and their implementation. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in PoCT (Point of Care Testing) to ensure the safe and correct disposal of all wastes produced in the course of their work. Improper and irresponsible disposal of wastes down drains, to the Local Authority refuse collection, or into the atmosphere is strictly forbidden by law. Storage and disposal of any dangerous materials should be undertaken in accordance with NHMRC guidelines for National Guidelines for Waste Management in the Health Care Industry and in an environmentally sound manner.

3 General Guidelines The following is a list of best practice guidelines that should be followed when dealing with waste generated in the provision of professional services for patients. The disposal route for sharps is high temperature incineration, to be collected by an accredited waste disposal agent. All generators of potentially hazardous wastes must ensure segregation, accurate and complete labelling and safe storage, transport, treatment and disposal of such wastes. Waste should be minimised whenever possible. Waste materials are to be stored in suitable areas and containers whilst awaiting collection and must not be accumulated. Regular disposal is essential. Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment should be a consideration when handling waste, with reference to the relevant Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

4 Waste Classification In relation to waste management for PoCT (Point of Care Testing) materials, it may be best considered as two distinct categories of waste. 1. Clinical waste: includes discarded sharps, and materials or solutions containing free flowing or expressible blood. 2. General waste: includes all waste materials that do not fall into the clinical category. General waste contaminated with blood or body substances (though not to such an extent that it would be considered clinical waste (i.e. not contaminated with expressible blood), may be disposed of through the general waste process, but must not be accessible to children. Gauze that has blood on it (but which cannot be expressed) or used woundcare products are likely to be the most common items in this category. Disposal of general waste: A bin lined with a leak proof plastic bag which can then be disposed of through the general waste stream. The usual waste paper bin under the desk can be used for waste not contaminated by blood or body fluids. Contaminated general waste and clinical waste must not be accessible to children.

5 Sharps and Clinical Waste Sharps are classified as discarded objects or devices capable of cutting or penetrating the skin, e.g. syringe needles, broken glass or hard plastic items and auto lancets. All sharps have the potential to cause injury through cuts or puncture wounds. In addition, many sharps are contaminated with blood or body fluids, posing a risk of infection or illness if they penetrate the skin. It is therefore essential to follow safe procedures when using and disposing of sharps. There should be appropriately sized, yellow, puncture resistant (impervious) sharps containers which conform to Australian Standard AS4031 Non-reusable containers for the collection of sharp medical items used in health care areas, or to Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS Disposal containers should be located close to where sharps are generated and in accordance with infection control guidelines. All sharps containers must be checked at least weekly and replaced when they have reached the marked fill line. All full sealed containers must be removed from the premises and disposed of by approved contaminated waste contractors.

6 Uncontaminated/General Waste General waste is any waste that does not fall into the clinical (i.e. biological or infectious) waste category. Uncontaminated waste, or items not used or contaminated with biological materials are often discarded as clinical waste inappropriately. This waste is not considered clinical waste. It does not require autoclaving or further processing and therefore may be thrown out with the normal trash as long as it will not puncture or leak from the bag lining the container. Therefore soft waste (but not plastic or pointed plastic waste) that has not been used or contaminated with biological materials, such as paper towels and gloves, can be placed directly into the normal waste bin. Any pointed plastic waste (even if it is uncontaminated) should be collected in the sharps disposal unit and disposed with the clinical waste due to its potential to puncture the bag in the normal trash container.

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