All Points Medical Waste Blog
Medical Waste Accidents
Immediate steps to take
You run a busy medical facility where hundreds of patients are coming and going and numerous procedures and treatments take place in the course of each day. And even though you’ve taken every step to ensure your medical waste is properly stored and disposed of, accidents can and do happen. The question is, are you prepared in the event of a spill and do you know the proper steps to take to ensure the safety of your personnel and your patients? Read on to find out more:
Have a well-defined plan in place
It’s highly likely that your team is well aware of your facility’s medical waste disposal procedures and guidelines. So it is critical that you lay out a plan for accidents, just as you’ve trained everyone on the proper steps to take when discarding hazardous waste. Depending on what type of accident has occurred, whether it’s a spill (which is the most prevalent of medical waste disposal accidents), or another type of accident, it’s a good idea to have one or two team members assume leadership in managing the situation.
1. Contain the spill or leak
If a hazardous waste container has been breached causing a spill or leak of the materials inside, the first step is to contain it and isolate the spill so staff and patients cannot come in contact with it.
2. Evacuate if necessary
If infectious materials are involved, it may be necessary to evacuate the area to ensure that no one is exposed. Anyone who is not needed in the cleanup process should leave the area immediately.
3. Attend to injured or exposed individuals
Anyone who has been exposed to the containment should be immediately treated, including flushing eyes and washing skin that has come in contact with the waste material. Begin first aid on those who’ve been injured in any way and call for emergency professionals if necessary.
4. Begin clean up
If you have a clean-up kit in your facility, begin the process of removing the waste using the materials in the kit. If needles or sharps are a part of the incident, be sure they are not picked up by hand, but rather swept up with a brush and pan. Place all spilled materials into the proper medical waste container.
5. Disinfect the area
Beginning in the least contaminated area and working your way to the most, use absorbent cloths to sop up the spilled material in the affected areas. During the process, be sure not to use both sides of the cloths, which can just re-contaminate the surface. Change cloths as you move from one area to the next. Rinse and dry the area after removing all contaminates.
6. Dispose of all contaminated materials
After cleaning and drying the area, make sure to dispose of all materials used in the process in the appropriate hazardous waste containers. This includes cloths, gloves, protective gowns, masks and any tools that may have come in contact with the spill.
All medical facilities are tasked with responsibly disposing of hazardous waste, but even the most efficient organizations can experience an accident. The key is to have a well-thought-out plan and to train your team members to react and manage it appropriately.
For all your medical waste needs, turn to us at All Points Medical Waste. We are a full-service, family owned and operated company that provides medical waste disposal services to a diverse selection of organizations. Call 772.600.4885 today to find out how we can serve you.