The Reason Behind Medical Waste Container Labeling
All medical waste generated in California is governed by the California Medical Waste Management Act (MWMA) and your local authorities. It is the MWMA which has mandated the safe labeling of medical waste containers after reports that some were being washed ashore after being dumped into the ocean. Other medical waste containers were found in landfills, posing a serious health risk to California residents.
Since then, laws have been put into place that require veterinarians and any other health facility to properly label all containers before they are transported out of the facility.
The Name, Address and Phone Number Requirement
All of the primary containers inside of a veterinarian’s office that accumulate medical waste must contain the name, address and telephone number of the facility. The only exception to this rule are bench top red bags that are used only to collect pipette tips that are non-breakable. All other medical waste must be inside of a container that contains the veterinarian’s information before it can leave the building.
By placing the name of the generator of the biological waste on the transport company, the authorities will know who to hold accountable if it is found inside of a typical trash bin, dumpster, or other inappropriate location. If found, the authorities will return the biological waste to the veterinarian office and possibly fine the establishment for unsafe handling practices.
Pre-printed labels or even bar codes that identify your veterinarian office are permitted, so long as the information is traced directly back to the source of the medical waste. Bench top red bags are excluded from this provision only when they are gathered and stored inside of a larger red bag that is labeled correctly. Medical waste disposal companies in California can assist administrators in a veterinary clinic in the proper form for filling out the labels and affixing them to the red bags, sharps containers and other containers if necessary.
In addition to having the medical waste generator’s name and contact information on the container, it also must be clearly marked as medical waste, and the type. A sharps container must be labeled as such, warning of the presence of objects which can easily pierce skin and spread bloodborne pathogens.
The Responsibility of Your Medical Waste Disposal Company
The easiest way for a veterinary office to stay compliant with the laws and avoid any fines is by partnering with a professional medical waste disposal company. They will not only help you in labeling the containers, they can evaluate your office practices, identify medical waste sources, and equip you with containers that help to make your practice more efficient – and compliant. They will also provide you with the required paperwork to show authorities that you have been acting in compliance with the law.
Labeling your medical waste containers is one step in the medical waste disposal process that you cannot miss. Armed with this knowledge you can stay in compliance with all regulations while practicing veterinary medicine safely and legally.