Biomedical Waste Disposal

A commonly overlooked but highly important area of healthcare that can affect everyone (not just those in the medical community) is biomedical waste disposal. Hospital and laboratory waste disposal is important in its own right, but individuals also have a responsibility for handling syringes, blood and other bodily fluids, in a manner that does not put others at risk. Attention to biomedical waste disposal can prevent the spread of infection or disease, and it is a lot better for the environment. While much of the waste disposal that is biomedical in nature falls under hospital waste disposal, individuals are not immune from the demands of law. If you take insulin shots at home or find yourself needing to dress a wound of some kind, then you need to dispose of syringes or bandages properly. After all, trash collectors may come into contact with these materials and risk sickness or disease.

The procedures for disposing of biomedical waste is so important that medical professionals are trained extensively in how to engage in proper hospital waste disposal with materials such as catheters, tubes, disposable gowns, masks, and surgical sutures and staples, to name a few. With the various types of disease that these individuals come into contact with on a daily basis, there is never any such thing as being too safe. Likewise, those who must deal with biomedical waste materials on their own need to take certain precautions for protecting themselves and others.

Firstly, one should cover all cuts and sores. Wet bandages should not be left on, but replaced with dry, clean bandages when necessary. Wearing some type of cover over clothing, such as an apron, is a good idea if you are coming into close contact with the waste. Needles, syringes, and lancets should always be carefully disposed of with a towel or dustpan. Never handle these materials with your bare hands. Using best practices and protecting yourself at all times is key to staying healthy when dealing with these waste materials.