Regulatory framework in medium-sized HCFs

Despite the fact that they produce both less in terms of quantities and usually a more delimited number of different categories of hazardous HCW, medium-sized HCFs have like all healthcare establishments a responsibilities and a "duty of care" for the environment and public health, particularly in relation to the waste they produce. They also carry a responsibility to ensure that there are no adverse health and environmental consequences as a result of waste handling, treatment and disposal activities.

Healthcare waste must be disposed of in accordance with all relevant national legislation, such as regulations pertaining to: [read more…]

  • waste in general;
  • effects on public health and the environment;
  • air quality;
  • prevention and control of infectious disease;
  • management of radioactive materials.

Although in a slightly more simplified manner, medium-sized HCFs need to have a set of comprehensive HCWM rules. These are usually found in the code of practice.

HCF code of practice

The HCF waste management code of practice plays a critical role in the overall waste management system. This document describes the standards and procedures for the HCF based on the type of equipment used.

The code of practice also describes the roles and responsibilities of the staff. It forms the baseline document against which the waste management system of the HCF can be monitored.

The waste management officer (WMO) with the waste management team (WMT) usually compile the code of practice for their healthcare facility.

A code of practice for HCWM supports supervision of waste management. Without standards, it is difficult for supervisors to reinforce good practice [read more…]

If health workers are not aware of their role and responsibilities it becomes very difficult for a supervisor to manage staff effectively. This being said, recognising and rewarding good work in relation to waste will encourage staff members to perform better when they see their efforts are acknowledged.

Studies show that after the introduction of new equipment, staff reported that better segregation was supported by training, supervision and well-placed containers. "Compliance" and "reinforcement" were the words used by the WMO to describe what was needed to change the culture around healthcare waste management.