A medical syringe is a necessary attribute of every modern health care institution, ranging from a huge hospital to a small private clinic. However, it’s no brainer that used syringes can be dangerous because they contain not only the remains of drugs but also the biomaterials of sick or infected people, which can be contagious. Therefore, the procedure for handling used syringes is strictly regulated by regulatory documents in the field of healthcare.
Rules and regulations for handling used syringes followed by medical waste disposal services.
There are basic guidelines that determine the procedure for handling medical waste from health care facilities. There are also special sanitary and epidemiological requirements for organizations engaged in medical activities, as well as the instructions for the collection, storage and disposal of medical waste.
All garbage that is generated and accumulated in polyclinics, hospitals, medical centers and other healthcare facilities is divided by regulatory documents into several classes – from A to D according to the increasing level of possible danger to human life. So waste under the letter A is harmless, but category D includes especially dangerous, radioactive types of medical waste.
Syringes used for medical purposes are classified as hazard of category B (dangerous) or C (hazardous) because they come into direct contact with the biofluids of sick people:
If the recommended safety precautions are not observed, the employees of medical institutions themselves may suffer. If not properly disposed of, medical waste of classes B and C can cause the spread of serious diseases.
The bulk of medical waste which medical waste disposal services need to cope with is made up of disposable instruments:
• syringes for injection and collection of biological material, which should be completely disposed of after usage;
How to prepare disposable syringes for disposal?
Before disposing of syringes and needles, medical waste disposal services carry out a decontamination procedure. This is mandatory regardless of whether this waste is subsequently discarded, destroyed or sent for recycling.
I order to carry out the chemical disinfection, medical waste disposal services use containers with a disinfectant solution. Often, needles are sterilized directly in special containers designed for their convenient separation from the syringe itself:
1. Needle remover – a plastic container equipped with a device for fixing and detaching the needle after injection.
2. Needle cutter – a collection container with a device that allows quickly and easily cutting the needle from the body.
These devices are used in surgeries, laboratories and ambulances, helping to prevent possible injury and infection of doctors.
In accordance with the regulatory requirements for decontamination, in the absence of such equipment, the removal of the needle can only be done after disinfection.
Temporary storage and transportation of used syringes.
When all parts of used syringes are disinfected and placed in sealed containers or specially marked garbage bags, they can be stored for some time right in the medical facility, in a room specially designated for this purpose.
Transportation of hazardous waste is carried out by special vehicles. According to the rules, this vehicle is used only for transporting medical waste.
Improper disposal of used syringes is a major concern not only for sanitary doctors, but also for environmentalists. Indeed, the period of decomposition of steel needles and plastic cases in a natural way can take hundreds of years, causing harm to nature. Therefore, the right solution is the recycling of syringes, which produces safe and high-quality raw materials suitable for further use.