Estimation of Amounts of Waste Generated from Healthcare Facilities

Estimation of Amounts of Waste Generated from Healthcare Facilities

Mohamad K. Kayyal (Damascus University, Syria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-02-0.ch014
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Abstract

In response to government and public pressures, the healthcare industry has in the past few years directed a significant effort toward the proper and safe management of its medical waste streams. Medical waste is classified as a biohazardous waste, which according to a study published by the United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (1990), may result in human infection and transfer of disease. This includes injury and infection with the Hepatitis B Virus (HVB) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), by janitorial and laundry workers, nurses, emergency medical personnel, and refuse workers who may come into contact with medical waste. In a recent survey conducted in the United States and Japan, and reported by the World Heath Organization (WHO) (1994), it was found that injuries by sharps constitute about 1% to 2% per annum for nurses and maintenance workers and 18% per annum for outside waste management workers. In Japan, the survey indicated that injuries by sharps constitute about 67% for in-hospital waste handlers and 44% for outside waste management workers. In order to reduce the risks associated with medical waste, proper management mechanisms should be adopted by healthcare facilities to protect the health of the staff within the medical facility, waste collectors/workers, and the public once the waste has left the facility for final disposal. These mechanisms include waste identification, segregation, storage, and treatment. However, and as a first step in the implementation of a waste management system, the management of a medical facility should conduct an audit of the generated waste streams.

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