Understanding the Hidden Costs of Medical Waste

Understanding the Hidden Costs of Medical Waste

Understanding the Hidden Costs of Medical Waste

You may have read your medical waste contract very carefully before signing it. You may be surprised at some of the hidden costs of medical waste. If you do not comply with the federal and state laws, you may face hefty fines of up to $70,000 from OSHA alone. Authorities can fine hospitals, care facilities, doctor’s offices, and veterinarians under the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).

Improper Transportation     

Workers must place all hazardous medical waste in rigid containers before moving it. The containers must be leakproof, spill-proof, and puncture-resistant. Many break this part of the law when transporting sharps. The Washington Department of Ecology fined Stericycle $72,000 for improper medical waste transportation.  

Improperly Prepared Manifest

Under the cradle to grave laws, you can be held responsible for your medical waste from the second it is produced until disposal by burning, burying, or some other method. If your records do not make it clear how you disposed of medical waste, then you can expect to be hit with a big fine when caught. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center composed of 12 separate locations had to pay a fine of $450,000 for violations of the Solid Waste Management Act.  

Failing to Categorize Medical Waste

Workers must label each side of storage containers. There are four types of medical waste. Infectious medical waste includes any waste that can cause infections in humans. Hazardous waste is not capable of causing infections, but it is dangerous in some way. For example, Sharps and old medicines both fall into this category. Radioactive waste includes any waste that may contain radioactive materials, including pathological waste. Each storage container must clearly state the type of waste, and the date it entered the storage facility. In January 2019, a Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, teaching hospital was fined $360,000 for improperly disposing of old medicine throughout a three-year period.

Transporting Medical Waste Yourself

It is illegal to transport medical waste weighing more than 50 pounds without getting a license. You must register for a biomedical waste transporter license in the counties where you will be carrying the waste. If your facility is the generator of the medical waste, and employees do not segregate it correctly, then you will be the one that receives the fine. Meanwhile, the transporter goes scot-free. The carrier must renew their license by September 30 annually.   

Medical waste management in Orlando can be scary because you never know if you can trust your provider. If they make a mistake in their medical waste management in Orlando practices, then you can get hit with a hefty fine or possible jail time. Take control of the process yourself by calling Steri-Green.