Health safety on wheels: clinical waste transport
21 of July of 2015
In Transambiental we know that clinical waste are a very common type of hazardous cargo in road transport routes. They are carried from hospitals and clinical institutions ovens or autoclaves where they are treated outside or deleted research.
Transported objects are very varied in nature, ranging from ordinary waste, surgical equipment, textiles with or without fluid or objects that have been potentially exposed to contaminants and other agents; biological samples to be eliminated in some cases following strict safety protocols as single loads and in special containers. Thus, some require more attention than others, like a living being is involved.
The carrier is part of the safety chain of these potentially dangerous goods by maintaining routines load control and sealing, stacking and stowage and have the means to fight fires or accidental spills. In this way, it becomes a major player in the transport chain when training as a keen observer of the many small details and specific loads and meet and defend essential to keep transport safety conditions at all times. It will be the bodyguard of such goods -but without glasses or whole-black suit.
As tools, carriers will have under EU law a dry powder extinguisher of at least two kilos of cargo on board being exempt small vehicles carrying waste from the homes of patients.
Carriers should note that these charges are not exposed to breakage also spacer elements used for packaging and dispose of recommended cleaning media to condition the space before receiving the containers and then abandon them.
But what containers must carry such potentially hazardous cargo with HCW? The European Union and non-EU state each offers different packages for the most common transfers which can be summarized into three common categories: small container boxes, other larger format similar to containers of garbage on the streets of any city and bags smaller shipments for 'bulk' format. Let's talk about them and see their specificities:
- Small container boxes. It is rigid plastic packaging or resin runs to be stacked to have a seal and you are tough enough to move sharps (scalpels, scissors, needles, ...). These containers have different sizes, capacities and elongated shapes and are designed in bright, yellow and red colors. On the outside they are labeled to provide information about clinical waste which is inside.
- Wheeled containers. They are used to move sealed plastic bags and clinical waste certified either plastic or steel. They should include in a visible place the month and year of manufacture.
One of the common problems with this type of packaging is transportation or temporary storage without closing caps, leaving leakage of fluid or its contents overhanging edges. In these cases, the shipper or the carrier must apply for sealing or, where appropriate, repair of the container also must allow the movement of cargo and stowed in vehicles and have adequate brakes standing for immobilization. No load can be transported such unsealed.
- Transport 'bulk'. It is certified in plastic bags which can be moved and clinical waste in the maximum weight allowed for each bag should be included. They are usually yellow or orange and have the distinctive symbols that identify their contents as clinical waste, and, where appropriate, as infectious substances. These bags can not be compressed, stacked improperly or exposed to heat.
In Transambiental we are aware that health security does not end in hospitals but extends beyond the transport of medical waste generated. A good knowledge of this process is vital to ensure public safety of all.