The management of HCW in large HCFs

Teaching (University) hospitals due to both their size and the diversity of medical activities carried out require dedicated personnel to ensure both safe and effective management of healthcare waste.

To achieve this goal, the first and most important steps are to assign responsibilities, develop and implement a waste management plan.

Assignment of responsibilities

The proper management of healthcare waste depends largely on good administration and organization as well as active participation by trained and informed staff [read more…]

The head of the hospital should form a waste management team (WMT) to develop a waste management plan (WMP). The staff involved are typically:

  • Head of hospital (as chairperson)
  • Heads of hospital departments
  • Infection control officer/nurse
  • Chief pharmacist
  • Radiation officer
  • Matron (or senior nursing officer)
  • Hospital manager/administrator
  • Hospital engineer/technician
  • Financial controller

A Waste Management Officer (WMO) with overall responsibilities for the development of the hospital waste management plan and for the subsequent day-to-day operation and monitoring of the waste disposal system should be appointed. This person will often either be the hospital engineer/ technician or infection control officer/nurse.

Development of a waste management plan (WMP)

The WMP should be developped in close consultation with all members of the WMT.

Analysing existing practices and taking into account national guidelines and recommendations, a first draft will be produced by the WMO. It should address the following issues: [read more…]

  • Present situation (HCWM practices, personnel and equipment involved);
  • Quantities of waste generated;
  • Possibilities for waste minimization, reuse, and recycling;
  • Waste segregation, on-site handling, transport, and storage practices;
  • Identification and evaluation of waste treatment and disposal options (on/off-site);
  • Training;
  • Estimation of costs relating to HCWM;
  • Strategy for the implementation of the plan.

Officials from the local authority - and for larger HCFs, from the national government agency responsible for the disposal of healthcare wastes - should be invited to assist in the development of the waste management plan (WMP). The plan should include a diagram that outlines the management structure and the liaison paths. A list of names and telephone numbers of responsible personnel to be notified in the event of an emergency should also be included.

Implementation of the waste management plan

Implementation of the WMP is the responsibility of the Head of Hospital. It involves the following steps: [read more…]

  • Interim measures, to be introduced as a precursor to complete implementation of the new waste management system, should be developed by the WMO, in collaboration with the WMT, and be appended to the plan;
  • The Head of Hospital appoints personnel to the posts with responsibility for waste management. Notices of these appointments should be widely circulated and updates should be issued when changes occur;
  • The Infection Control Officer should organize and supervise training programmes for all staff, in collaboration with the WMO and other members of the WMT. Initial training sessions should be attended by key staff members, including medical staff, who should be urged to be vigilant in monitoring the performance of waste disposal duties by non-medical staff;
  • As soon as the above actions have been completed and necessary equipment for waste management is available, the operations described in the WMP can be put into practice;
  • The WMT should review the WMP annually and initiate changes necessary to upgrade the system;
  • The Head of Hospital should prepare an annual report to the national government agency responsible for the disposal of healthcare wastes, providing data on waste generation and disposal, personnel and equipment requirements, and costs. Failures in the waste handling, segregation, storage, transport, or disposal system, or waste management incidents that result in injury should be reported as soon as possible to the Infection Control Officer.