Most people are surprised when they hear all that can’t be dumped to their local landfill. Paint, waste oil, and medical waste… just to name a few. Not only are they banned from their local landfill but there are strict regulations in place that govern where and how they can be disposed of. So the days are long gone when any business owner or manager of a firm that generates medical waste can deal with it as an afterthought.
1. Cost and Efficiency
Of course there’s always the option, particularly for a small firm or clinic, to develop some methodology to handle it on their own. Perhaps to locate a disposal venue where they can periodically and legally deposit their medical waste on their own in the hopes of saving money. After all, it only stands to reason that anything that can be done in-house can be done cheaper and possibly even better. It’s been tried.
Those who try inevitably find out that any cost savings accrued is quickly discounted by related problems and overall inefficiency. Storing medical waste on a premises presents a host of problems that only get bigger the longer it sits waiting to be disposed of by an employee. Then by the time employees wages and disposal fees are paid, any savings turns out to be negligible, particularly when it’s factored against the risk that’s involved of having an employee handling and transporting it.
2. Legal Protection
That in turn brings us to the next reason for handing the task over to a professional medical waste pick up and disposal firm. Medical waste not only presents a risk to employees who should get stuck with the job of packaging, handling and transporting it but it’s also a risk to employers as well should the employee be injured in some way as a result of this particular job assignment. The list of reasons that employers can be dragged into court today and forced to pay damages to employees only continues to grow as the monitory rewards also continue to climb. So it really is a gamble, and not accepting that fact is setting oneself up to be on the losing end of this type a gamble.
So the best advice that a workplace injury attorney could give to any employer who’s considering having an employee transport medical waste for disposal is that, “It just isn’t worth the risk.”
3. Employee Safety
So this brings us to the third sensible reason for having a professional firm handle the job of picking up, transporting, and disposing of medical waste. All financial risk aside, if you as an employer care for the safety and well being of your employees, it’s just not a job that you would have them do. There are strict protocols and regulations involved in the transport of medical waste and they’re in place for good reason. That reason is the risk that’s involved. So not only would you be placing your firm at risk of having to pay out a large financial settlement if an employee should be injured in any way by mishandled medical waste but there is also the risk to the employee as well to consider.
Of course you can pay for the training and all the protective equipment that they need to process, handle and transport your medical waste but in the end it’s you the employer who is responsible for anything that happens to them while they’re on the job.
4. Sanitation Issues
This brings us to the fourth reason for contacting a professional medical waste transport and disposal service to deal with any medical waste that your business generates. That reason is actually quite a number of reasons, and they all revolve around sanitation issues. First of all, understand upfront that medical waste can’t be stored in accordance with the same protocols that standard waste products can. So you simply can’t toss it in trash bags and stick it outside the back door until somebody gets around to hauling it away. That alone can get you stuck paying a hefty fine. So storing it on premises is always a problem, and the longer it stays the more problems it generates.
So there is a host of sanitation issues that come with storing, transported and disposed of it in-house. Issues that depending on the volume and type of waste involved can quickly discount any savings generated by doing so.
The Bottom Line
If your firm generates medical waste you have an obligation to partners, employees, clients, patients, your neighborhood and your general community to handle it and dispose of it in accordance with established rules, regulations and protocols. It not only makes good common sense to hand the job of disposal over to a specialized waste management firm but also makes good financial sense.
It’s a job that’s just better left to experienced professionals.
Written by Andrew Scherer. He is an expert on health related topics such as medical waste disposal.