Regulating Waste Management During the Pandemic
According to the CDC(Center For Disease Control) guidelines, handling of medical waste( with particular attention paid to COVID-19 patients) have to be handled in much the same way as any other medical waste, but with a little extra attention to detail.
There might not be specific rules regarding the disposal during the pandemic, but companies urge healthcare workers to remind themselves of some of the current guidelines.
a) The generators are responsible for packing and loading the waste to transport to treatment facilities. A reminder to the Stericycle drivers, you do not help with that.
b) Every bag you package has to be hand-tied. You do that by hand-twisting the bag and using a tie clip to seal it. Every bag has to be sealed tightly or it will leak. Those who find a leak in the bag before packaging should discard the bag in a marked container and use another one for security.
c) Once the bag is closed, it is to remain invisible once you move onto a secondary bag.
d) Those bags that are improperly packaged and sealed will be denied transportation and sent back to the generator for another turn.
e) Any reusable sharps containers should not be processed through the RMW containers. They have to be processed through standard situations.
Do you need more information on this matter? You can check out some additional resources including The Generator Packaging Guidelines and the Waste Acceptance Policy. It is important to note, some of the resources are available in both English and Spanish languages.
Some Added Information Concerning Medical Waste Disposal
The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc around the world. Millions of people are being treated a day, but that also means that medical waste is piling up more than ever before.
The Medical Waste Transportation, Treatment, and Disposal
According to the State Biological Hazards Annex(yes, that is a real thing), TCEQ is the company responsible for all communications concerning medical waste disposal. They are required to provide technical and regulatory guidance on everything from collection and transportation to incineration. They also have to provide state-wide and local jurisdiction facilities and transportation.
All COVID waste has to be handled as Regulatory Medical Waste( under 49 CFR 173.134 and 30 TAC Chapter 326, Subchapter B). This includes everything from waste to reusable material. It also concerns the medical treatment of both humans and animals.
What about the waste from humans and animals quarantined, but who has yet to receive medical treatment?
Any waste handled by a medical facility should be treated as regulated medical waste. Anything that is happening outside of the medical facility, like a residence or a place of business, the person should seek guidance from the CDC guidelines on that.
Managing the Waste From A Business Or A Residence
The CDC has laid out some guidelines on how to handle waste from either someone’s private home or workplace.
1) Every surface has to be wiped down and disinfected no matter how much or little you have used it.
2) You are going to have a lot of ill people right now during the pandemic. You should( if it is possible) have one lined trash can for every sick person.
3) You must double-bag every contaminated waste bag if you can. Stick every used glove, mask, and other items you can dispose of into the bag. Tie it up securely before you place it into another bag.
You have to place the bags into a rigid container, like a can with a secure lid or dumpster. However, have a dumpster dedicated to pandemic waste only. You never stick the double-bagged contaminated waste into a regular dumpster for other garbage. It might be secure, but you still have to deal with possible contamination and cross-contamination.
4) You must wash your hands after removing your gloves and/or disposing of medical waste. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You might have to wash them longer depending on the extent of the medical waste.
You should also use some kind of hand sanitizer to thoroughly wash and clean your hands. Some might think this is a little excessive, but we are dealing with a global pandemic. No one is above getting infected. You have to protect yourself.
An Important Development Concerning COVID 19 and the Pandemic
According to the EPA, they have updated some of their policies concerning COVID 19. According to one of their spokespeople, anyone who is caught infringing on the healthcare guidelines and making infractions concerning rules and regulations could have law enforcement monitoring them regularly. Law enforcement, in certain areas, can also legally enforce the rules and restrictions through civil action.
That means in basic terms, law enforcement has the right to fine and or arrest anyone who is not abiding by OSHA and CDC guidelines during this pandemic. Law enforcement has gone on record as saying they do not want to resort to those measures unless they have to. That is why they are strongly encouraging you (especially healthcare workers) to adhere to the guidelines and codes during this frightening time.
For further information you can contact one of the companies that specializes in technology that aids in reducing the amount of waste in the medical field with particular attention to medical waste and its disposal such as Pathogenx.com.