Just because they are not dealing with humans does not mean that veterinary clinics do not have to follow proper bio-hazardous waste removal procedures. Even though it is animal medical waste, it should still be handled with care by a regulated medical waste disposal company, to make sure that there is no danger to other animals, people, and the environment. Your clinic could be subject to extremely high fines and penalties if you are found to be not in compliance. There are many regulations and standards that must be met, so it can get a bit confusing. Here are some tips to help you handle your medical waste properly and stay in compliance.
Package Waste Properly
All medical waste, human or otherwise, must be stored and transported using approved containers. These containers must meet the standards of the Department of Transportation for whatever material is being moved. They must be leak-proof and spill-proof, and in the case of some items, such as sharps, they must be rigid. This will make them puncture-proof to protect against jabs from needles.
Discarded Waste Identification
Not only must the waste be in the proper containers, but proper bio-hazardous waste removal also means clearly labeling those containers. They must be marked from the moment they are transported until the moment of destruction. This is known as “cradle to grave” identification. A reputable and regulated medical waste disposal company will provide you with a manifest. This manifest will document pick up times, drop off locations, and verification that the waste was disposed of properly.
It Must Be Transported Properly
If you are transporting more than 50 pounds of bio-hazardous waste, then you must have a permit. To get a permit, you will need to go through an extensive training program and pay the proper fees. This is why most facilities that generate medical waste choose to outsource their bio-hazardous waste removal. These companies will have all the necessary permits and licences, and will follow all of the applicable local, state, and federal regulations. In most cases, a truck will come and pick up the waste directly from the site. For smaller amounts of waste, which is often the case with veterinary clinics, waste can be transported to destruction through the mail.
Compliance When Mailing Medical Waste
Some clinics may choose to order a special kit that contains regulated medical waste disposal containers that are safe to send in the mail. They can order varying sizes of the containers for various substances and dangerous items. The standards are very strict, so the containers must be certified by the Department of Transportation. The facility can then use these containers to ship their medical waste to the disposal site. The site will provide a confirmation email that it was received and destroyed. In most cases, using the mail-back system is not appropriate. However, for those facilities that generate fewer than twenty pounds of medical waste, it is a convenient and less costly option. Any more than that, and it may be cheaper and safer to use a pickup service for your medical waste.
No matter what method you choose for your clinic, disposing of potential dangerous and infectious waste is crucial. Keeping in compliance will help protect your staff, your clients, the animals you serve, and the general public. As well, you can make sure that your clinic’s reputation remains rock-solid.