All biological waste must be carefully stored and disposed
of safely. Contaminated materials such as blood bags, dirty
dressings and disposable needles are also potentially hazardous
and must be treated accordingly. If biological waste and contaminated
materials are not disposed of properly, staff and members of
the community could be exposed to infectious material and become
infected. It is essential for the hospital to have protocols
for dealing with biological waste and contaminated materials.
All staff must be familiar with them and follow them.
The disposal of biohazardous materials is time consuming and
expensive, so it is important to separate non-contaminated
material such as waste paper, packaging and non-sterile but
not biologically contaminated materials. Make separate disposal
containers available where waste is created so that staff can
sort the waste as it is being discarded. Organize things in
a way to discourage the need for people to be in contact with
All infected waste should then be disposed of by incineration.
Incinerators must be operated in accordance with local regulations
and the approval of the public health department.
is the ideal method for the final disposal of waste but,
if this is not possible, other suitable methods must be used.
These should also be regulated and approved by the public
Burying waste is the only option in some areas. If this is
the case, you should do as much as possible before burying
it to minimize the risk of infection. Small amounts of infected
waste should be soaked in a hypochlorite solution for at
least 12 hours, put into a pit and then covered. Larger quantities
should be put into a pit with a final concentration of 10%
sodium hypochlorite, before covering immediately.
Do not mix waste chemicals, unless you are certain that a
chemical reaction will not take place. This is essential
to prevent any unwanted or even dangerous reactions occurring
between the chemicals, which could endanger laboratory staff.
Always follow local guidelines on the disposal of waste chemicals
to ensure that chemical contamination of the surrounding
land or water supply does not occur.
Provide a safe system for getting rid of disposable items
such as scalpel blades or needles. The risk of injury with
sharp objects increases with the distance they are carried
and the amount they are manipulated. A container for the
safe disposal of sharp objects should be:
resistant (a glass container could break and provide
a serious hazard to the person cleaning up the mess)
large enough to pass needles and scalpel blades, but
never large enough for someone to reach into
to a surface, such as a wall or counter, to ensure stability
These containers must then be disposed of safely.