Health Care Wastes Get WHO's Attention

A new fact sheet from the World Health Organization sums up the problems of improper sharps disposal and health care waste that often is not separated into hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams in low-income countries.

A new fact sheet posted by the World Health Organization summarizes the problems posed by wastes generated by health care activities. It says high-income countries generate on average up to 0.5 kg of hazardous wastes per hospital bed daily, while low-income countries average 0.2 kg of hazardous waste per hospital bed per day. Because health care waste often isn't separated into hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams in low-income countries, their real quantity of hazardous waste may be much higher, it states.

Key facts listed in the document include these:

  • About 80 percent of all waste from health care activity is general waste, while the remainder is hazardous material that may be infectious, toxic, or radioactive.
  • Every year, an estimated 1 billion injections are administered worldwide, with some of those sharps improperly disposed of afterward.
  • Health care waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms.

It lists the major sources of health-care waste: hospitals and other health care establishments, laboratories and research centers, mortuary and autopsy centers, animal research and testing labs, blood banks and collection services, and nursing homes.

The sheet notes that incineration of waste has been widely practiced, but inadequate incineration or the incineration of unsuitable materials releases pollutants into the air and of ash residue. It says only modern incinerators operating at 850 to 1,100 degrees C and fitted with special gas-cleaning equipment can comply with international emission standards for dioxins and furans. Alternatives include autoclaving, microwaving, steam treatment integrated with internal mixing, and chemical treatment.

WHO offers guidance documents to aid safe management They are available at this website.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • EHS Management Software Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - March 2021

    March 2021

    Featuring:

    • EMPLOYEE TESTING
      The Impact of COVID-19 on Drug Testing
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Preparing for Unpredictable Spring Weather
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Building a Comprehensive Floor Safety Strategy
    • GAS DETECTION
      Gas Hazards and the COVID-19 Vaccine
    View This Issue