Why Medical Waste Sterilization is So Important

Medical waste sterilization isn’t just necessary for protecting the environment from dangerous chemicals and materials, it’s a key part of reducing the risk of infection and contamination to humans and animals from exposure to dangerous types of waste that are created in medical settings on a daily basis.  In order to reduce to risk of disease outbreak among the public that can result from exposure to this type of waste, medical establishments have to properly sterilize and dispose of the medical waste that they generate.

As a general practice, big hospitals and laboratories typically sterilize and destroy all of their medical waste products onsite, as it’s highly efficient and affordable in the long run. Smaller medical practices, including veterinary clinics and dental practices, often contract out for these types of services, including removal of their biohazardous waste, by a company that specializes in treating and sterilizing medical waste in preparation for disposal.

Depending on where they practice, a doctor or medical practice can be fined, or in some cases, can even lose their license if medical waste is properly disposed of.  Medical waste can’t simply be thrown into the garbage or poured down the sink; it has to be treated in order to ensure that it’s free from dangerous microorganisms that can get into the water supply.

Many states are working to toughen the penalties for illegally processing medical waste, so it’s important to carefully follow the laws in your state to prevent being shut down due to waste violations.  In some parts of the country, you can lose your license for as long as 3-5 years, depending on the level of the violation.  That’s a big price to pay and certainly not worth the harm to the environment and to the general public.  To ensure that you are doing everything you are supposed to when it comes to medical waste sterilization, find out what the guidelines for medical waste removal are in your part of the country and put a plan in place to ensure that you are following the laws.

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How to Stay Compliant in a Dental Office with Effective Medical Waste Treatment

Effective medical waste treatment for dental offices, hospitals and veterinary clinics became a matter of growing concern in the early 1990’s, when medical waste, including dirty syringes and used medical vials, began washing up on public beaches.  After a large amount of public outcry, the EPA stepped in to help regulate how medical waste is dealt with in order to prevent it from entering into the water supply and damaging our health and environment.  As a result, dental practices and other medical establishments had to take proactive steps to ensure that they were in compliance with the new laws regarding medical waste, including how it is disposed of and stored on the premises.

Dental practices generate a unique category of waste that is different from the types of medical waste that are commonly found in hospitals.  Metals, used x-ray trays and dental film, lead foil and other medical materials are commonly generated by dental offices, in addition to items such as used gauze, gloves and needles.  These types of materials have to properly disposed of, or they risk entering into the water supply and affecting the wildlife in addition to the water that we drink, which is why dental offices must have a plan in place to ensure that waste is handled in an efficient and environmentally sound way.

Individual dental practices are responsible for properly disposing of their medical waste products in a safe and legal way.  What does this mean?  The medical waste that is created by dental offices has to be treated before it can be disposed of in a landfill.  Before it goes this process, which sterilizes the waste, the dental waste is stored in reusable medical waste containers and carts, red biohazard bags and disposable sharps containers.  For those who have their own site autoclave, the preferred way to go for dental and medical practices, it’s simply a matter of using the powerful machine to “clean” the medical waste before it’s thrown away.  It’s an environmentally friendly alternative to incinerating trash, which can be dangerous to the public and shouldn’t be done.

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Dental Office Medical Waste Treatment: What Are The Options?

Dental offices have unique needs when it comes to medical waste treatment, as most dental practices are much smaller than a local hospital, yet they still generate certain types of medical waste that are regulated by federal, state or even local environmental laws.  Dental offices regularly generate chemical solutions, lead foil film backing, mercury, and fluorescent tubes and batteries that all have to go somewhere when they are done being used.  These types of waste are incredibly detrimental to local wastewater treatment plants and can even find their ways into local waterways and eventually the ocean if left untreated.  That’s why dental office medical waste and non-biohazardous waste is just as important as other types of medical waste, and why it must be managed effectively before being disposed of.

For dental office medical waste treatment the options include having onsite medical waste containers that are picked up on a regular basis for treatment or having an onsite autoclave, which treats medical waste with pressurized steam and high heat to ensure that it’s safe to put into the local landfill.  To be compliant with the laws for disposing this type of waste, dental offices must store hazardous waste in universally recognized “biohazard” containers which are clearly labeled, and the containers should be regularly inspected for damage or leaks in order to prevent waste from spilling.  Non hazardous waste should be kept in separate containers.

If working with an offsite service, keep all biohazardous materials away from patient areas when it’s waiting to be picked up.  Containers must be stored in a protected area in order to protect both employees and patients from exposure.

Handling dental waste the right way isn’t just good for your health and the health of those around you; it’s also a legal necessity for all types of medical establishments.  In order to keep the environment clean and to protect public health, all medical professionals must adhere to proper sterilization techniques for medical waste and instruments, so be sure to find out what the laws are in your area in order to ensure that you are in compliance.

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How Medical Waste Autoclaves Are Maintained

Using an autoclave properly and maintaining it according to the manufacturers requirements ensures that all medical instruments and tools are correctly sterilized, and that all medical waste is safely treated before being transported to the landfill for final disposal.  The first step in ensuring that medical waste autoclaves are properly maintained is to understand how they work.  If you are new to using an autoclave, take the time to learn about your particular machine by reading through the instructions or by working with someone from the manufacturer who can answer your questions.  When you have an understanding about the different parts of the autoclave and it’s different functions, than it will be easier to maintain and to diagnose when it needs repairs throughout the course of using it.

Medical waste autoclaves should be cleaned on a daily basis, in addition to weekly and monthly maintenance to ensure the highest level of performance.  This typically consists of brushing any outer screens daily and checking all of the parts, including the gaskets and door seal, to ensure that all pieces and structures are in good working condition.  For weekly maintenance, medical autoclaves should have their exhaust line flushed with clear hot water to get rid of any residue.  It’s also a good idea to gauge the temperature of the autoclave’s interior in order to ensure that it is reaching the correct temperature needed for killing dangerous germs and microorganisms through complete sterilization.

By following some simple maintenance steps and learning about how an autoclave works, your medical establishment can get the most out of it’s investment while also practicing an environmentally safe way to sterilize medical equipment every day on site.  Always check with the manufacturer or contact a repairperson when it comes to any major repairs on an autoclave, as you don’t want to risk injury to yourself or to others.  While autoclaves are somewhat simple machines to use and operate on a daily basis, they can cause serious injury if used improperly, so always use caution, no matter how big or how small your autoclave is.

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How to Purchase a Medical Waste Autoclave

Having an onsite medical waste autoclave at a hospital, dental practice or surgical center can be a big time and money saver for those who have previously been having their medical waste picked up for sterilizing and disposal by a third party company.  While these services are highly effective for a physician’s practice and small clinic, having an onsite option makes sense for bigger practices and hospitals.

A medical waste autoclave can be smaller, designed for use in a dental office or other smaller medical practice, or bigger and commercially designed for use in a hospital setting.  Purchasing an autoclave is an important first step for those who want to maximize their operating costs by adding an in-house sterilization unit.

Before purchasing an autoclave, there are some important considerations to make.  First off, who will be using it?  How complex your set up and operation will be is determined by the type of items you’ll be sterilizing.  While the majority of autoclaves are fairly easy to operate and maintain, you’ll want to take into consideration who is going to be responsible for operating and managing the process on a daily basis.

It’s also a good idea to consider the lifetime costs versus just looking at the initial cost savings or the purchase price.  Take a look at how much electricity or steam is used and be sure to factor in how much water is used for cooling and vacuum pumps.  The lifetime costs should also factor in the need for maintenance, which typically comes every year or so, depending on the model and how often it is used.

The final consideration for purchasing an autoclave is the design (top or front loading), and shape (cylindrical or rectangular chamber) that you desire.  A good rule to remember is that top loaders require much less floor space, although some find that front loaders are easier overall to operate.

An autoclave is an investment for a medical organization, and the options should be weighed carefully before making a final decision.  Before selecting a medical watse autoclave for your hospital or medical center, be sure that you understand the facts so that you can make the most informed purchase decision possible.

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Proper Medical Waste Sterilization Techniques That Work

Medical waste sterilization is critical when it comes to killing viruses and bacteria in items before they are disposed of in a landfill.  Properly sterilizing medical waste is the key to preventing dangerous pathogens from entering the environment once the waste leaves the hospital.  When medical waste has been sterilized and processed, it  can be disposed of in a municipal landfill safely, as the number of microorganisms present in the waste goes down to almost none through modern sterilization techniques that include the use of pressure and steam.

Medical autoclaves that are designed for on-site use reduce the need to transport waste to an external facility, and are considered to be the only effective chemical-free sterilization technique that can be completed with the use of radiation.  Through a powerful system of pressurized steam and vacuums in a self-contained chamber, medical waste is sterilized using clean and environmentally friendly technology.  The process is highly effective at getting rid of dangerous microorganisms and is used by hospitals and doctor’s offices throughout the world.

Modern medical autoclaves can handle a great deal of volume when it comes to medical waste, and can be installed onsite for affordable, efficient sterilization whenever it’s needed.  Hospitals and doctor’s offices generate thousands of pounds of waste each month, and in some cases, each day, making it necessary to have an onsite solution for waste management.  Autoclaving is widely recognized as being the most effective way to sterilize medical waste, and thanks to it’s affordability and highly efficient system design, autoclaves are also a smart investment for medical establishments that are working carefully to maximize their budget throughout the year.  Having autoclaving done onsite is typically more affordable than having a service picking up your medical waste each day for treatment, and it also has less liability associated with it.  Since you can track the waste from the time it is created to the time that it leaves for the landfill and is disposed of, it’s easier to track and report on medical waste than if you just hand if off to someone else.

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Medical Waste Containers: What Every Medical Facility Needs to Know

Proper removal of medical waste is a big issue in the medical community.  You may be surprised to learn that everything from hospital gowns to bed sheets are considered to be “medical waste” in a medical setting, in addition to all of the used needles, used instruments and other medical tools and supplies.  Medical waste typically is contaminated with bodily fluids, and in a hospital setting, these fluids may potentially carry dangerous disease.  To prevent these germs from harming others in the hospital and to prevent then from getting out into the public, the government requires that all medical waste be processed carefully to ensure that it is safe to be disposed of in a landfill.

Medical waste containers that are designed specifically for holding medical waste are the only way to safely and legally store this type of potentially dangerous waste products.  Medical waste containers should be stored in a protected area that isn’t close to any of the public areas of the hospital or lab setting.  The containers should be stored completed sealed to prevent the attraction of rodents to the area, and each container must be clearly labeled “Biohazourdous Waste”.  Following these simple guidelines will help protect yourself and others from exposure to potentially dangerous conditions.

All types of medical waste has to be tracked from the “cradle to the grave”, and this is enforced by both the federal and state governments.  What this means is that once a new piece of waste has been created in a hospital as the result of surgery, a test or other medical procedure, it is tracked through each step of the process, including the sterilization treatment and finally, the final destruction of the waste.

Every medical facility should research the medical waste removal regulations in their state, as they do vary slightly from state to state.  By following the general safety guidelines set forth by the government and taking the state laws into consideration as well, medical professionals can ensure that they are doing everything on their part to ensure that medical waste is processed and disposed of properly.

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Autoclave Bags, Liners and Other Medical Waste Accessories: How Do They Work?

Getting rid of medical waste properly is a critical element to running a hospital or medical center.  The autoclaving process is the preferred method for preparing medical waste for the landfill, as it’s quickly sterilizes many different types of medical waste so that it can be legally and safely thrown away.  During the autoclaving process, which uses pressurized steam to kill potentially dangerous germs, there are several different ways of disposing of waste before it goes into the autoclave machine.  Autoclave bags, liners and other types of medical waste removal accessories make the job easy.

Autoclave bags, which are commonly called “biohazard” bags, are polypropylene bags that are tear resistant and impermeable to steam.  In order for the steam in the autoclaving process to be able to sterilize the medical instruments or waste, the bags shouldn’t be sealed shut during the process, and should instead be slightly ventilated to allow for the highly pressurized steam to enter.

Medical waste containers, similar to those plastic red Sharps containers that you probably see at your physician’s office, are made from a tough, polypropylene material that can stand up to the high temperatures and pressure that occurs during the autoclaving process.  These containers allow for safe collection of medical waste so that it’s carefully stored before being autoclaved and eventually disposed of.  Stainless steel containers are sometimes used for this purpose, as the materials are a strong conductor of heat and won’t increase the time to sterilize. This isn’t as cost effective as using hard plastic containers, however, as stainless steel is much more expensive.

Autoclave bags and other accessories help hospitals and medical practices protect their autoclaving machines from problems related to items melting during the process.  Autoclave bags have a high melting point and are designed to withstand movement from transferring from a medical waste container to the autoclave for sterilization.  They offer an extra layer of protection for medical personnel that makes the process much easier and more efficient, and that also protects their investment as well.

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Medical Waste Containers and Sterilization Techniques for Dental Practices

Medical waste containers and sterilization techniques for dental practices are required for proper removal of used needles and other types of bio hazardous medical waste.  “Sharps waste”, the biggest types of waste that most dental practices incur on a regular basis, consists of used items that have sharp edges, corners or areas that protrude, making it possible for those who accidentally come in contact with them to pierce or cut the skin and contract an infection.  This type of medical waste includes needles, scalpel blades, acupuncture needles and endodontic files.  Medical waste containers are fully sealed, hard-plastic containers that are used for sharps waste and for other types of waste that is generated by dental offices, including blood and other fluids.

Using on-site medical waste containers that are emptied and replaced on a set schedule is the ideal situation for dental firms and other types of smaller medical establishments that generate a moderate amount of waste, but not quite enough to require the purchase of their own autoclave.  Autoclaves, which many hospitals and large medical labs now have onsite, treat medical waste with high pressure and steam in order to “clean” it before it’s taken to a landfill.  It’s often a more cost-effective option for those that generate a great deal of waste, as they can process thousands of pounds of waste each day.

Dental practices can ensure that all medical waste products are removed and disposed of by using medical containers that are approved for use in storing and removing medical waste.  These types of containers are available in a variety of sizes, including conveninant single deposit containers for one-time use, on up to large-sized 200-gallon containers for a busy practice.  Considering the large amount of medical waste that is generated by a single hospital each day, it’s easy to see why the medical waste generated in a dental practice requires high quality products and services that ensure proper waste disposal.  In order to meet regulation requirements and be the most effective, medical containers for dental offices have to be leak proof, puncture resistant, and spill proof.  Ensuring that they are easy to handle and stackable as well, as this will make them easier to use in the office.

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How Medical Waste Autoclaves Changed The Medical Profession

Medical waste autoclaves are widely regarded as one of those most important tools and inventions to ever come about in the entire medical profession.  A medical autoclave works by heating solutions higher than their boiling point, which in turn, results in conditions that completely sterilizes lab instruments.  This process can also prepare medical waste for disposal in a landfill.

The first autoclave was created by Charles Chamberland in 1879.  At this time in history, modern medicine was beginning to develop a stronger following and the benefits of having a sterile environment and instruments was being recognized as a critical part of standard medical care.  Medical professionals were looking for something easier and more reliable than simply sterilizing instruments in a fire, and the invention of the autoclave offered an alternative that truly worked.  Once the health benefits of using sterile instruments to perform medical procedures became standard and medical professionals saw how easy it is to use them, autoclaves became popular in hospitals, veterinary clinics and laboratories.

The autoclave hasn’t just been helpful in revelutionizing how doctors, dentists and other medical professional sterilize their instruments, it is also an essential tool used for treating medical waste so that it can be disposed of properly in a landfill, instead of burning it, which simply releases dangerous particles into the air and down to the ground.

The proper disposable of medical waste is incredibly important, as compliance is a legal issue for hospitals and other medical facilities who must follow the individual state laws for getting rid of waste properly.  Not all materials can be autoclaved, including plastics and paper.  However, almost all other types of materials and products can be effectively sterilized during the steam and pressure autoclaving technique that destroys all of the microorganisms that live on them.  It’s how hospitals prepare expensive tools for reuse, and ensures that all materials are completely sterilized before each use.  For those who deal with a great deal of medical waste every day, autoclaves have become second nature.  They are easy to use, highly durable and incredibly efficient at “cleaning” medical equipment and medical waste.

 

 

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