One question that comes up frequently with our customers, is “What are my OSHA requirements”. Now we have the answer in an easy to review format to help support regulatory compliance at your practice. Our OSHA Quick Guide covers what is required for Training, MSDS, Safety Guides, and more, who should take the courses, and how often the training should be accomplished.  And, best of all, as an Entech customer you receive complementary access to our training portal which provides all of the resources needed to maintain full regulatory compliance.

Our OSHA Quick Guide answers the most common questions about OSHA compliance in an easy to read, easy to understand format.  Download this resource here.

If you’d like to reduce your medical waste disposal costs while simultaneously gaining access to our compliance program, contact us today to learn more about our services!


In 1976, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established one of the agency’s most encompassing pieces of legislation with the Resource Conservation and and Recovery Act more commonly referred to as RCRA.  The legislation was formed in direct response to public outcry regarding the limited oversight of solid waste management at the time and increasing awareness of environmental issues.  In 1988, the EPA instated new legislation regarding medical waste management through the Medical Waste Tracking Act which, again, was introduced largely as a result of growing public concerns regarding the management of hazardous materials.  As a result of these two primary pieces of legislation, the medical waste service industry was created and the impact of this legislation carries on today through cradle to grave medical waste regulations.

The term “cradle to grave” comes from requirements established in RCRA.  As a generator of RCRA hazardous wastes, which includes some specific categories of regulated medical wastes, the disposal of these wastes ultimately remains as the generator’s responsibility.  Per RCRA regulation, even if a generator hire someone else to manage and complete the disposal of these materials, the generator remains liable for any failure on their part to follow the law.  Hence, the term “cradle to gave” is used to communicate this responsibility.

While the vast majority of medical wastes including sharps and general biomedical wastes are not subjected to RCRA requirements, certain healthcare equipment and pharmaceuticals are.  Universal wastes, including items which contain mercury, along with other specific materials with certain toxicity, corrosivity, or ignitability characteristics are regulated by RCRA.  These materials require certain additional management activities to ensure full compliance with laws designed to protect both the environment and public health.

Cradle to grave also states that a generator – whether a hospital, medical spa, tattoo parlor, or veterinary practice –  is responsible for its waste from the point of generation to its final destination of disposal. There are no expiration dates, no time limits, and hiring someone else to transport and dispose of your RCRA waste does not absolve the generator of this responsibility.

It’s because of these regulations like RCRA and the Medical Waste Tracking Act that service providers stress the importance of compliance and accountability with generators. Because proper packaging, labeling, and transportation of regulated medical waste is regulated by federal and state law, compliance activity should be a central consideration of choosing a provider for your practice. Even if your facility and staff follow all regulations to the letter, don’t rely on just anyone to transport and haul away your medical waste. Remember, generators retain responsibilities for medical wastes while sharing both joint and several liabilities with your providers, even when wastes leave your facility.

Ensure that your waste is disposed of properly, safely, and securely, so that you maintain compliance under the confines of applicable regulations.  Contact Entech today if you would like help managing compliance at your practice while simultaneously reducing your disposal costs!


In June 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule under the Clean Water Act mandating specific standards to control mercury discharges into publicly owned treatment works. The EPA’s new rule requires dental practices that place or remove dental amalgam to control amalgam waste through the use of ISO 1143-certified amalgam separators.  The dental amalgam wastes collected through separators require special recycling which can be accomplished through the use of return mail dental amalgam disposal systems.

While the rule requires any new dental practice to install separators meeting the EPA’s specific requirements, the compliance date for most existing dental practices already utilizing separators is 2020.  Regardless, the presence of mercury in dental amalgam requires special management due to the potential impact these wastes have on the environment.

While amalgam has been utilized with dentistry for over 150 years, the management of this material helps to protect the public water sources we all rely on.  The EPA estimates that more the 50% of all mercury received at public owned treatment works is generated by the dental profession.  Because the mercury found in amalgam wastes is a bio-accumulative pollutant which is not easily removed, improper disposal can result in serious implications to public health.


To support the proper management of dental amalgam wastes, the American Dental Association offers the following recommendations on best practices:


Best Management Practices for Amalgam Waste

Do Don’t
 Do use precapsulated alloys and stock a variety of capsule sizes Don’t use bulk mercury
 Do recycle used disposable amalgam capsules  Don’t put used disposable amalgam capsules in biohazard containers
 Do salvage, store, and recycle non-contact (scrap) amalgam  Don’t put non-contact amalgam waste in biohazard containers, infectious waste containers (red bags), or regular garbage
 Do salvage (contact) amalgam pieces from restorations after removal and recycle their contents  Don’t put contact amalgam waste in biohazard containers, infectious waste containers (red bags), or regular garbage
 Do use chair-side traps, vacuum pump filters, and amalgam separators to retain amalgam and recycle their contents  Don’t rinse devices containing amalgam over drains or sinks
 Do recycle teeth that contain amalgam restorations (Note: Ask your recycler whether extracted teeth with amalgam restorations require disinfection)  Don’t dispose of extracted teeth that contain amalgam restorations in biohazard containers, infectious waste containers (red bags), sharps containers, or regular garbage
 Do manage amalgam waste through recycling as much as possible  Don’t flush amalgam waste down the drain or toilet
 Do use line cleaners that minimize dissolution of amalgam  Don’t use bleach or chlorine-containing cleaners to flush wastewater lines

Many other informational resources exist to support proper dental amalgam disposal at your practice.  For a more comprehensive overview of the legislative changes, download this linked white paper on the new EPA standards for dental amalgam wasteContact Entech today if we can support your efforts to safely manage this regulated waste at your practice!


When communicating with customers about medical waste services, one of the first questions that is always asked is “What is disposal service going to cost?”.  This is obviously an important consideration of any purchase decision and the answer depends on different factors which involve the frequency of service, volume of wastes disposed of, and the specific materials that will be offered for treatment and disposal.

Once these details have been determined, they are documented in a service agreement which, beyond being part of good business practice, offers a number of benefits for all involved with the management of regulated medical wastes.  Specific to our customers’ interests, service agreements offer the following benefits:

  • Clarification and documentation of roles and responsibilities
  • Ability to lock in pricing over agreement term
  • Ability to lock in offered incentives
  • Protection of liabilities for involved parties

Executing a service agreement with your provider not only clearly defines the scope of services offered, but also outlines responsibilities of each party. It protects you legally while also identifying the type of liabilities and insurance protection you’ll have in case an accident should ever occur.  Remember, as a generator of hazardous wastes, your practice shares joint and serval responsibilities with your chosen provider.  Thus, it is important for you to have some terms and conditions which clearly communicate responsibilities.

Of additional importance, a service agreement protects the pricing you have been offered.   For agreements that have a longer term, you have the ability to establish a price that can be accounted for in future budgets while eliminating any surprise increases.

In addition to pricing, service agreements with Entech outline several important items:

  • Date when the agreement was created
  • Location of where the material will be collected and any special service details (collection frequency, contact, available service days, utilized waste containment, etc.)
  • Payment terms and conditions and length of the contract
  • Regulatory compliance and clarification of associated responsibilities
  • Customer warranties
  • Explanation of how services can be terminated

It’s good business to communicate roles and responsibilities on paper with any utilized service for your own protection. This certainly extends to roles and responsibilities involving the management of regulated medical wastes generated at your practice.  A service agreement, signed by both parties, helps to ensure that liabilities are minimized and that your service will be executed as outlined.

For more information on how Entech can help minimize both your liabilities and medical wastes disposal costs, contact us today for a no-obligation service quote!

Common Medical Waste Management Mistakes

The proper management of medical waste can be a complicated process, but an extremely necessary one for any facility generating these regulated materials.  Not only can the improper handling and disposal of medical waste expose patients, healthcare providers, the public, and medical waste service providers to hazardous materials, but it can also result in serious legal consequences which are not limited to fines.  As a result, you should expect your service provider to offer you the knowledge, tools, and support needed to remain compliant with the numerous federal, state, and local regulations in order to prevent common medical waste management mistakes.

By working with a provider who is both knowledgeable about applicable regulations and committed to their implementation, your practice is better positioned to ensure that wastes are managed in a safe manner which protects public health.  In this respect, the proper management of medical wastes and your relationship with your medical waste service provider can be seen as a key component of the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.”

Here are five common medical waste management areas to focus on to ensure proper management and compliance within your healthcare facility:

1. Ensure Your Staff Maintains Required Training

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), their most frequently issued citations within the healthcare industry (second for all US industry classifications) involves infractions of the Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Standard. OSHA’s second most common healthcare citation involves violations of Hazcom requirements. All employees with potential exposure to blood or bodily fluids are required to train on BBP annually per federal OSHA regulation. Similarly, OSHA requires employers to maintain, and update annually, Exposure Control and Fire Prevention Plans along with a specific Hazard Communication Program. OSHA has the ability to issue fines up to $12,600 for each workplace hazard per instance which includes training and safety plan requirements among all other regulations contained in 29 CFR 1910.1030. Learn more about your BBP requirements at

Current U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations require initial and recurrent training of all employees who perform work functions covered by the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), which includes Regulated Medical Wastes. Any employee whose work directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety, specifically individuals who generate and offer waste for transport or sign waste manifests, is required to complete training per federal law. Failure to meet training requirements can result in fines of $471 per instance, per day. DOT fines related to individual HMR infractions defined in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) can be up to $78,376. Learn more about your specific responsibilities as a hazardous waste generator along with the regulations applicable to your practice and your staff at

Entech can provide all of your required OSHA, DOT, and HIPAA training, safety plans, and more to help your practice get in compliance and stay in compliance.  Learn more about our Healthcare Compliance Training solutions.

2. Utilize Appropriate Containers for the Collection, Storage, and Transportation of Medical Wastes

Using the correct containers for specific types of medical waste during on-site handling and transportation is crucial, particularly with sharps, as needles and other sharps can puncture or tear through red biohazard liner bags. Sharps must be disposed in appropriate rigid containers before placing those containers inside appropriate biohazard bags or bins.  In addition, sharps containers go through a specific approval program with the FDA before they are authorized for use in the market.

All containers utilized for the transportation of medical wastes (sharps and general biomedical wastes) also need to be approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and sealed per restrictions on weight prior to transportation.  As part of this process, containers are rigorously tested to certain performance standards and marked accordingly per regulation.

While medical waste containers are generally provided by service providers, medical waste packaging and labeling is the responsibility of the facility itself. Packaging includes sharps containers, biohazard containers, plastic bags, and reusable containers. Failure to comply with safe containment is an environmental and community health issue.  Consequently, it is important to identify and work with a service provider that maintains both a strong understanding of and commitment to compliance as they work to support your practice’s own efforts in this area.

Contact Entech with any questions you may have on medical waste containment to make sure your practice remains in compliance.

3. Provide the Appropriate Manifest Documentation

All medical waste must be properly accounted for when it leaves a your facility and this is accomplished through the use of shipping manifests. These manifests, mandated by federal law and outlined in CFR, document offered wastes and tracks these materials as they are transported to an appropriate off-site waste management facility.  Manifests must also follow certain requirements in terms of format and execution as defined by federal law.  In addition, federal DOT regulations require that staff signing a manifest for a waste pickup have training in DOT protocols among other requirements.

Contact Entech with any questions you may have on required waste manifests to make sure your practice remains in compliance.

4. Utilize Conforming Signage

Regulated medical waste requires special handling, disposal, and storage. Both OSHA and DOT have requirements that must be met in order to properly store and dispose of waste while displaying signage that properly communicates hazards. Failure to post conforming signage about restricted areas, medical waste containers, or maintain infection control plans at your facility can put staff, patients, and other individuals who come into contact with generated wastes at risk.

Contact Entech with any questions you may have on required signage to make sure your practice remains in compliance.

5. Work with Committed Medical Waste Management Partners

Many of the most common medical waste management mistakes can be resolved by working with a qualified medical waste management company that fully understands the process and follows required and best practices.  There are no shortcuts in this process and responsible companies will do whatever is necessary to ensure that your waste management activities comply with all appropriate regulations while reducing your liabilities.  Essentially, this regulatory management is one of the largest cost drivers of medical waste service activity and should be an important expectation you have of your chosen provider.  After all, this is one of the primary elements of the service which you are paying for.

Contact Entech with any questions you may have on medical waste management activities to make sure your practice remains in compliance.

Mail Back Medical Waste Icon

If your facility generates a small volume of clinical waste or is located in rural Alaska, you might find that best disposal solution for these materials involves your mailbox.  Consider the use of USPS-authorized medical waste mail back systems as a cost effective, compliant, and efficient disposal option for wastes generated at your practice.  Through these mail back systems, generators have access to a range of fully compliant solutions which are flexible enough to meet a variety of operational requirements.

In this post, we have included information on the types of clinical wastes that can be disposed of through these mail back solutions, how to utilize a medical waste mail back system, along with relevant regulations governing their use.


What Types of Clinical Wastes Can be Disposed Through Mail Back Systems?

Medical waste return mail disposal systems can be utilized for a variety of clinical wastes.  As with regular collection services, wastes must be segregated for disposal in mail back solutions, but may be used for:

  • Sharps Waste: Materials include needles, ampules, broken glass, blades, razors, stables, trocars, guide wires, disposable surgical instruments, or any other item that has the potential of puncturing skin.
  • Biomedical (Red Bag) Wastes: Materials include potentially infectious materials, blood products, contaminated personal protective equipment and bandages, IV tubing, and cultures.
  • Pharmaceutical Waste: This primarily includes wastes which are a chemical waste product, vaccine, or allergenic that does not contain a radioactive component intended for use in the diagnosis, care, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or injury in humans or animals. Certain listed or controlled substances require additional disclosures and management procedures for return mail disposal. 
  • Amalgam Waste: Amalgam waste is generated through dental activity and contains roughly 50% mercury.  Amalgam is used for fillings and can be generated during application or with extracted teeth.  Amalgam waste is classified as “Universal Waste” due to the mercury content inherent in this waste stream and while not classified as a hazardous waste, should NOT be disposed via the sanitary sewer or with your general medical wastes due to the presence of mercury.

With proper disclosure to and approval from your service provider, mail back disposal systems can also be used for:

  • Pathological Waste: Pathological waste includes human and animal tissues. These wastes must be segregated by the generator and are commonly incinerated for proper treatment.
  • Trace Chemotherapy Waste: Materials utilized for chemotherapy treatments which may contain some small residual material from this activity.  Materials include empty vials, empty syringes, empty IVs, contaminated gowns, gloves, tubing, aprons, wipes, and packaging.  These wastes must be segregated by the generator and then incinerated for proper treatment.


Using Medical Waste Mail Back Disposal Systems

Infectious waste and needles must be strictly and lawfully separated from your standard trash. Infectious waste cannot simply be tossed into the garbage, nor can sharps be discarded in any particular container, as you risk needles poking through.

Instead, the law requires the use of rigid and puncture resistant containers to store and dispose of infectious waste. This ensures proper awareness and safety of anyone who handles it.

Medical waste mail back solutions involve specialized packaging components which meet regulatory requirements set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the United States Postal Service (USPS).  While Entech’s mail back systems are designed for use through the USPS, some systems are designed for other carriers, most commonly the United Parcel Service (UPS).  UPS has their own set of requirements which are different from those issued by USPS, but represent an alternative that is available in some markets.

In regards to container design, the law requires medical waste mail back solutions utilize certified primary waste containers which are rigid, puncture resistant, and sealed to prevent potential exposure in the event of a transportation accident.  Systems available through Entech come in a range of sizes and from 1.2 gallons to 28 gallons to meet varying operational requirements.

To meet requirements, mail back kits include the following:

  • Instruction sheet for proper use
  • Primary collection container for medical wastes
  • Heavy interior plastic liner bag (if container does not have sufficient seal on primary container)
  • Heavy exterior plastic liner bag to enclose primary collection container
  • Zip ties to secure liner bags
  • Interior fiberboard enclosure
  • Exterior fiberboard shipping box
  • Packaging tape to seal system prior to shipment
  • Shipping manifest to document proper treatment and disposal
  • Prepaid return shipping label

To use a mail back disposal system, the first step is to place an order which will include the cost of the system itself and all associated outbound and return shipping.  Systems are then individually packaged, mailed to your location, and ultimately received at your facility for the collection of medical wastes.  Once the primary waste container is full, users simply follow the included instruction sheet for proper packaging, complete the included shipping manifest, and provide the sealed package to USPS for return shipping and processing.  Of note, system users must save the original shipping box that systems are received in.  This same box is used to return full systems for processing.

With Entech’s systems, electronic notifications are sent to system users throughout this process to provide documentation of outbound shipping, return shipping, and the ultimate treatment of wastes.


Mail Back Medical Waste System Requirements for Lawful Disposal

Because of the potential pathogens inherent within the medical waste stream, certified containment systems are a legal requirement of the transportation process.  Containers must be rigid and impenetrable, but also meet a series of design requirements.  If you cannot locate a USPS authorization number on the exterior packaging of your system, the system has not met these design requirements is not legally compliant with regulations.

Ultimately, the shippers of medical waste bear the legal and financial liabilities associated with the use of non-authorized solutions transported through US mail per federal code established by the USPS and DOT Hazardous Material Regulation.  Authorized systems are specifically designed and extensively tested to ensure safety for all who may come in contact with wastes and minimize the potential of exposure during an accident.  Use of the US postal system to mail medical waste with non-authorized packaging represents violations of Title 39 U.S.C., Section 3018 and Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1716 (Injurious Articles as Nonmailable).  In this occurrence, full responsibility rests with the shipper from placing any nonmailable items into US postal system per US code.  Again, shippers bear full liability for violations which can result in substantial fines and even jail time if the shipments result in injuries to other individuals who come in contact with nonmailable items.

Among others requirements, any USPS-authorized return mail system meets the following:

Systems are extensively tested to ensure structural integrity. The USPS requires that a series of tests be completed by a certified testing lab as part of the authorization review process. Required testing is completed to confirm that systems are capable of withstanding the elements, that systems are leakproof, and able to withstand a variety of potential impacts that could be experienced during transportation.  Specifically, tests include humidity testing, temperature testing, vibration testing, leakproof testing, and 30 foot drop testing under a variety of different environmental conditions.  If a packaging system fails any test (materials leak from the system), it will not be authorized for use.

Systems have multiple containment barriers to ensure protection.  To manage exposure potential, medical waste mail back systems consist of multiple nested barriers to seal wastes within packaging. The primary waste collection container will be rigid, impermeable, and also supplied with absorbent material.  Secondly, the primary container is itself sealed within a heavy weight plastic liner.  These components are then packaged inside of two nested fiberboard boxes as an additional protective measure.  This level of design, which will be part of any USPS-authorized system, assures that wastes are contained event of a transportation accident.

Systems require special markings and use of USPS specific programs.  In additional to structural requirements, medical waste mail back systems must also meet additional USPS requirements which are specific to their systems. These include specific hazard markings, manifest requirements, and the utilization of USPS’ return mail shipping programs.  This is why you will not find any USPS-authorized system sold without pre-paid return shipping included.

As described in this post, the development of USPS-authorized return mail solutions is not a casual process.  By using USPS-authorized solutions, medical waste generators are able to ensure that their wastes are properly contained for transportation, liabilities are minimized, and wastes are managed through full compliance in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Contact Entech for further information on medical waste mail back systems or purchase systems through our online store.

Pathogen Icon

In 1991, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard to protect workers from the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/Aids) and the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).  While protection from these specific viruses is of great importance, these two examples represent a portion of the many pathogenic materials that potentially exist in this regulated waste stream.  As a result, all medical wastes should be managed in a manner that offers the greatest protection possible to protect both the individuals and the environment which may come into contact with medical waste pathogens.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), key facts regarding the worldwide generation of medical waste include:

  • Of the total amount of waste generated by health-care activities, about 85% is general, non-hazardous waste (i.e. non-regulated refuse).
  • The remaining 15% is considered hazardous material that may be infectious, toxic, or radioactive.
  • Every year an estimated 16 billion injections are administered worldwide.
  • Health-care waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms, which can infect hospital patients, health workers, and the general public if not properly managed.
  • Health-care waste in some circumstances is incinerated, and dioxins, furans, and other toxic air pollutants may be produced as emissions.

With these facts in mind, medical waste generators retain important responsibilities to ensure that all pathogens which may be generated through healthcare activity be properly managed.  Among those previously mentioned, medical waste pathogens that can be found in generated medical wastes include:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/Aids)
  • Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C
  • Influenza
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Arboviral Pathogens
  • Brucellosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Pathogens
  • Leptospirosis
  • Candidiasis
  • Malaria
  • Rabies
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Tularemia
  • Lassa and Marburg Pathogens
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Pathogens

Exposure to these particular pathogens presents risks which, if not properly managed at the point of generation and though waste management activity completed by your medical waste disposal provider, can result in some of the following impacts:


Parasitic Infections

Parasites can be both hardy and prevalent in the medical waste stream, particularly from wastes generated at laboratories or other locations which routinely test for infectious microorganisms.


Bacteremia infections occurs when bacteria are introduced to the bloodstream.  These types of infections are most commonly related to sharps waste.  This is one of the main reasons why all sharps are to be placed in puncture resistant containers.

Vaccine Contamination

While vaccines protect us from a multitude of diseases, several consist of actual pathogens designed to stimulate the immunize system to naturally produce resistance to certain microorganisms.  If improperly managed, potential exists for individuals to develop infections through exposure to vaccines discarded with medical wastes.

Lung Infections

Improperly stored and/or sealed medical waste can release airborne pathogens that can cause certain lung infections such as tuberculosis.


Medical waste may contain pathogens that can transmit meningitis which is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Medical wastes can commonly include items used with patient care that have been exposed to sexually transmissible pathogens such as herpes, human papilloma virus, and syphilis among others.


Ebola and Marburg disease are two examples of pathogens which cause violent fevers and internal hemorrhaging.  While these diseases have a low prevalence in North America, Alaska’s tourism industry has the potential impact of bringing some of these specific pathogens into our medical waste stream.

To ensure that your practice is managing the risks associated with medical waste pathogens with confidence, be sure to work with a service provider you trust and one that maintains a commitment to safety.  Contact Entech today to learn more about how we can support medical waste disposal best practices at your office.


It seems counter intuitive, but has your medical waste service provider ever made efforts to help you with medical waste reduction at your practice?  Chances are your current provider hasn’t and that is largely because the more waste you generate, the more your current provider is able to charge.

Many practices increase their medical waste disposal costs unnecessarily simply by adding materials that are non-infectious such as food, paper, and other non-hazardous materials into their medical waste bins.  In actuality, the ability to achieve medical waste reduction at your practice has more to do with proper segregation than it does with eliminating total volumes of wastes produced.  This is important due to fact that the treatment of regulated medical wastes is considerably more expensive to dispose and carriers a much higher level of liability by comparison to general non-regulated solid wastes.

At Entech, we operate differently through our efforts to help our customers minimize both their costs (segregation) and their impact on the environment (technology utilized).  Through this partnership approach, we work to build long term relationships by helping our customers reduce the volumes of non-hazardous wastes included in their medical waste stream.

In addition to providing guidance on the materials that should and should not be included in your medical waste container for treatment, Entech is able to support customers through tailored medical waste audits that are specific to your practice.

The process is relatively straight forward and involves the following activity:

  • Step 1: Your medical waste stream is audited to estimate a percentage of your current waste is actually non-hazardous waste. Then we quantify your potential savings through a medical waste reduction analysis.
  • Step 2: We educate your staff on proper medical waste disposal, so that everyone has the knowledge needed to reduce your medical waste.
  • Step 3: We implement an action plan that includes written policies, effective signage, and proper container placement.

Keep in mind that every practice is unique based on their specific health care activities and the different wastes that they may be generating from them.  It is in each practice’s interest to follow good segregation activities to help minimize medical waste volumes.  Medical waste reduction is possible even while maintaining the highest levels of safety and compliance.

Take the first step with medical waste reduction at your practice and schedule your free medical waste audit by contacting Entech today.

Best Practice Icon

The medical waste industry is very complex and dynamic. With so many different types of medical waste, different rules and regulations from federal, state, and local entities, it can quickly become challenge managing all requirements.  Compounding this is the fact that improper management of this waste stream can result in meaningful impacts to both the environment and the generators of these materials. Some of these impacts could include contamination of groundwater, public endangerment, impacts to your practice’s reputation, and significant fines for the generator of medical waste.  Making sure to exercise proper disposal and to work with a service provider that shares your commitments to medical waste disposal best practices is a choice that reflects positively on the environment as well as the integrity of your company.

If your facility has medical waste, the law says it is up to the generator to determine how to best dispose of it.  Follow the best practices below to safely and efficiently dispose of your medical waste at your location.

  1. Complete a waste audit to determine what your practice is generating.

The first thing that should be fully considered is whether or not wastes generated at your practice are potentially infectious and, if so, how might they be further classified.  Infectious waste is classified as waste contaminated by things like blood, body fluids, or other potentially harmful materials that can infect and harm humans or the environment. Unlike infectious waste, non-infectious waste can be disposed of with solid waste.

You should also determine if you have pathological or pharmaceutical waste.  Pathological waste, includes things like carcasses, tissues, and body parts.  Pharmaceutical waste includes unused medications and contaminated packaging.  Knowing what you’re dealing with is the first step.   It is a critical component that supports all of the proceeding activities involving these materials including proper storage, identification, transportation, treatment, and disposal of these wastes.

As desired, Entech is available to assist your practice in the evaluation of medical waste generation at your location.  Our goal with these exercises is to help ensure that wastes are not only properly managed, but minimized to the greatest extent possible to boost the delivered value of our services and support longer term relationships with our customers.

  1. Ensure that your practice is utilizing proper containers.

Medical waste containers have certain distinct requirements per OSHA and DOT regulations.  These requirements primarily specify labeling and the container’s design characteristics.  As an example, all sharps waste, such as needles, must be placed in puncture resistant OSHA approved containers to protect all involved as these wastes are transported and treated.  As another example, both OSHA and DOT maintain specific requirements for the proper labeling of medical waste which include requirements for how waste containers are marked.

To properly transport medical waste, all medical waste must be placed in approved containers as an initial step. These containers must communicate OSHA required labeling and certain information about the design characteristics of the packaging, universal markings, along with specific waste identifiers communicated in specific language.  Depending on the type of medical waste, the generator must also understand the requirements of identification and segregation of specific medical wastes (i.e. pathology waste, chemotherapy waste, infectious waste, etc.).  With any hazardous material, proper packaging is important and while your service provider may supply collection containers, it is ultimately the responsibility of the generator to ensure that they are compliant.  Any box or tub simply will not do and the use of non-compliant containers adds additional liability to your practice which you, as the generator of these wastes, remain responsible for.

Consider also the practice of having wastes transferred to secondary containers prior to removal from your practice.  When you execute a waste manifest, you are making a legal statement certifying that wastes have been packaged by yourself, are correct as indicated in the manifest, and are accepting of responsibility for these materials as a generator.  If you are currently serviced in this fashion, you have effectively been asked to make false statements with these declarations.  Due to the inherent liabilities associated with medical wastes, this is important to consider because of the unnecessary risk this activity can add to your practice.

It should be noted that best practice within the industry is to replace containers with each service.  Beyond the sanitation concerns of re-using existing containers which can be harbors for infectious pathogens, repackaging prior to transport presents a new level of liability that should be a consideration to your practice.

All of Entech’s containers are OSHA and DOT approved for the collection and transportation of medical waste.

  1. Utilize transportation and destruction records that are clear, accurate, and able to be easily managed within your practice.

Proper documentation is an essential component of the medical waste disposal activity.  Each container of generated medical waste should have accompanying paperwork throughout the transportation and destruction process.  This documentation, which is noted in hazardous waste manifests, must also follow specific formats and contain specific information in order to meet federal requirements.

The hazardous waste manifest process is also important for both the generator and your service provider.  If this paperwork is inaccurate or missing, the liability rests with the generator of that waste, however, creates complications for all involved parties.  Thus, it is important that this documentation is accurate, accessible, and in conformance with regulations.

To improve the visibility of Alaska’s medical waste stream with our customers, Entech utilizes a fully compliant electronic manifest system.  This process ensures compliance, reduces errors, and makes information more accessible to all involved parties.  In addition, the utilization of an electronic system also makes the record management process much more efficient so that our customers no longer have to sort and manage multiple paper based records.  All information is organized, presented clearly, and accessible 24/7 through our secure customer portal.  We are the only service provider in Alaska to offer such a service and we do so free of charge.

  1. Work with dedicated service providers who share your commitments to safety, compliance, and professionalism.

It is important to remember that medical waste remains the responsibility of the generator even after it has been taken off site and in the possession of your service provider.  Thus, it is very important to choose a reliable provider that demonstrates a commitment to safety, compliance, and professionalism. Not only should your provider clearly understand and follow all regulations regarding transport and disposal, but they should also be able to serve as a resource in helping your own practice understand and manage your requirements in an efficient manner.

Thus, choosing the right provider will make your facility’s entire medical waste disposal process smooth and easy.  Entech provides all the right options to make this possible.  From our compliance training offerings to our collection and disposal services, we can make your medical waste disposal as simple and hassle-free as possible which helps you to keep your focus on quality patient care.

Contact Entech today for a no-obligation service quote and savings analysis.