Monday, November 14, 2011

Safe Medical Waste Disposal

All medical offices must dispose of medical waste in a safe manner.  I closed my office at the end of September, but my last medical waste pickup is the first Friday of December.  My dear husband is going to open the office and wait for them.

How have you told patients over the years to deal with their medical waste?  Needles?  Syringes?  JP drains they pull out or that fall out before they get back for follow up? 

Last week the FDA sent out a press release announcing the launch a new website for patients and caregivers on the safe disposal of needles and other so-called “sharps” that are used at home, at work and while traveling.

…….Sharps disposal guidelines and programs vary by jurisdiction. For example, in 2008, California passed legislation banning throwing needles in household trash. Florida, New Jersey and New York have established community drop off programs at hospitals and other health care facilities. People using sharps at home or work or while traveling should check with their local trash removal services or health department to find out about disposal methods available in their area.

For the safe disposal of needles and other sharps used outside of the health care setting, the FDA recommends the following:

DO:

  • Immediately place used sharps in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needle-sticks, cuts or punctures from loose sharps. (A list of products and companies with FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers is available on the FDA website. Although the products on the list have received FDA clearance, all products may not be currently available on the market.)    
  • If an FDA-cleared container is not available, some associations and community guidelines recommend using a heavy-duty plastic household container as an alternative. The container should be leak-resistant, remain upright during use and have a tight fitting, puncture-resistant lid, such as a plastic laundry detergent container.
  • Keep sharps and sharps disposal containers out of reach of children and pets.
  • Call your local trash or public health department in your phone book to find out about sharps disposal programs in your area. 
  • Follow your community guidelines for getting rid of your sharps disposal container.

DO NOT:

  • Throw loose sharps into the trash.
  • Flush sharps down the toilet.
  • Put sharps in a recycling bin; they are not recyclable.
  • Try to remove, bend, break or recap sharps used by another person.
  • Attempt to remove a needle without a needle clipper device.

 

For more information:

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