Healthcare facilities deal with an enormous amount of hazardous waste on any given day, with much of the waste posing serious risks to the staff, patients, and the general public. Given these risks, government agencies have regulations in place that determine how hazardous medical waste should be handled. However, for many reasons, not every facility follows these guidelines; here are some reasons why.
Lack of Knowledge
By far, a leading reason for waste handling failures is a lack of knowledge. In the same manner that the medical team can't treat patients without training on the human body and how it functions, the team cannot handle waste correctly if they don't know what it is, or how it functions. Implement a training program that every staff member must successfully complete. A training program specialist can help you develop and execute a program tailored to your needs.
Overwhelmed with Tasks
Whether it's a small medical office or a large hospital, a career in a healthcare facility means busy days and nonstop work, at times. However, working in a fast-paced environment and being overwhelmed are two different things. If your team has to handle patients and attend to housekeeping services — they are likely to be overwhelmed. Ensure you have ample staff to ensure each employee can efficiently focus on specific tasks.
Poorly Designed Waste Systems
A waste system that is chaotic and difficult to understand is never a good thing. For example, take a collection system with poor labeling. Whether the labeling is hard to read or gives a poor description of what items should go within its container, a hard to understand the system will lead to waste being placed in the wrong container. Consider revamping your collection system to make it easier to use and ultimately, more efficient.
Minimal Team Input
A hazardous medical waste collection program should not be designed without the input of the team. In fact, the last thing you need is to have someone come in and design a system who does not understand the nuisances of working in a healthcare environment. While waste professionals should be a part of your planning committee, you should also seek the input of experienced staff who understand what type of system would fit best within their daily practices.
If your medical facility can stand to make some improvements with your waste handling, make certain you take action. Commit to making improvements on your own and partner with a hazardous waste training professional who can assist with the goal.