How to Prepare for a Medical Waste Inspection
Medical waste management and tracking began with the Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988. Although the Federal Government, EPA, and DOT provide some oversight of regulated medical waste storage, transportation and disposal, the majority of biohazard medical waste is regulated at the state level. In some instances it can be regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Of course, implementation of internal office procedures and the handling of regulated medical waste and proper record keeping are a must for healthcare practices and other facilities to maintain compliance under these laws. Part of this process includes registering with federal and local government agencies, in addition to getting regularly inspected for safety and security.
What should you have in order before your medical waste inspection?
Identifying the basics about your facility.
Whether you’re a large-scale hospital or small lab, you need to have the most basic information available for your inspector – the name of your facility, a point of contact, average quantity of medical waste produced, who your medical waste hauler is, and the names of any offsite treatment facilities that you use.
Know your procedures.
Do you have a medical waste management plan? An inspector will need this information and as detailed as possible. This should include sharps waste, hazardous chemical waste, infectious waste, and mixed waste.
Your containers matter.
Medical waste packaging and labeling in a facility that deals with regulated medical waste is the responsibility of the facility itself. Packaging includes sharps containers, biohazard containers, plastic bags, and reusable containers. An inspector will look to see that your medical waste is properly contained and marked for safety and infection control.
Where you store medical waste matters, too.
Medical waste containers should not be stored in common areas that are available to common traffic. Be sure to have an accumulation area designated for certain staff, be sure that sharps containers are stored on the wall properly and at the right height. Inspectors will check to see that your medical waste isn’t sitting out and in the open.
Who transports and treats your medical waste?
The inspector will need the name of your medical waste removal company, as not just anyone can transport or treat medical waste. States govern how and when medical waste is transported and treated with various permits and laws, so it is up to you and your inspector to make sure medical waste isn’t hauled off by an uninsured, untrained individual. Not only is this a detriment to your practice and your community, it’s against the law.
If your staff isn’t current on the latest regulations, or if new employees don’t understand the different types of medical wastes and how they should be handled, what they don’t know could cost you if an inspector finds you in non-compliance. In fact, each non-compliant item on an OSHA checklist could carry a fine of up to $7,000.
MedXwaste can assist your facility with our online OSHA Compliance Training Program to help prepare you and your staff for a medical waste inspection, as well as maintaining compliance all throughout the year. What’s more, we can provide red bags, sharps containers, and routine service to help you store and treat your medical waste so you can focus on keeping your communities healthy.
Contact us today to speak with one of our customer care representatives.