With increased enforcement, nursing home compliance is critical. MERI’s Free Infectious and Hazardous Waste Review Helps Midwestern Nursing Homes Quickly Assess if They Are Compliant. 

If a DNR inspector audited your nursing home today, would it pass with flying colors?

Skilled Nursing Administrators, Environmental Services and Compliance Officers take note: Proposed EPA rules and increased enforcement means it’s time for you to check if your facility has any compliance issues when handling and disposing its pharmaceutical and medical waste.

From previous reviews we’ve conducted, we’ve noticed many skilled nursing facilities are in non-compliance, especially when dealing with their pharmaceuticals. This is worrying for three reasons.

  • you could be faced with thousands of dollars in fines if audited,
  • you may inadvertently creating an unhealthy workplace, and
  • you could be unnecessarily polluting our water stream.

MERI (short for Madison Environmental Resourcing Inc.) is currently offering a FREE Nursing Home Compliance REVIEW for Midwestern Nursing Homes to help flag any potential compliance issues.

Our quick, 10-question survey can help you determine if your infectious, hazardous, pharmaceutical and universal wastes are being properly stored, collected, treated and disposed. We’ll also talk to you about how you document every step of your waste disposal process, from cradle to grave, and how quickly you can access your manifests.

Click here to email us with a time that works best for you to conduct the survey, or or give Lisa, Jim or Zac a call at 608-257-7652.

After the 20-minute conversation, we’ll review your answers and pull together a report with our findings shortly after. MERI will note where you may currently be out of compliance on issues that may put you at greater risk of fine. Our goal of doing this is to help you get these issues fixed before an inspector shows up at your door with a list of violations that could quickly add up to more $27,500 per violation/per day.

We’ve helped skilled nursing and assisted living facilities stay on top of changing regulations for more than 30 years. Licensed and owned by three major hospitals, MERI understands your world. As a not-for-profit, we know how important it is to be compliant and to keep your costs low, so that you can focus your financial resources on what’s truly important – focusing your resources on those you are caring for.

###

Register for this discounted March 9, 2016 hazardous training in the Dells. WH2E has available funds to sponsor this hazardous training, conducted by MERI, at a discounted rate.

Hazardous Training Opportunities Available
Attention Environmental Services, Facilities, Plant Operations or Safety Departments:
RCRA/DOT Hazmat Training

When: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Where: Hilton Garden Inn (101 E. Hiawatha Drive, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965)
Agenda: Check-In 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Class 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: Discounted from $150 to $50/person. This is a WH2E sponsored event.
Beverages, Snacks and Lunch will be provided.
Payment: Make checks payable to WH2E or bring cash. Receipts will be available.
To Register:  Fax this HAZTRAININGFORM or the info below to  608-257-7656 by Friday, March 4, 2016.

Certification: A certificate of completion will be given to you at the end of the day.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

RCRA COMPLIANCE FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE GENERATORS OVERVIEW
(MORNING SESSION)
This RCRA compliance course is designed for large and small quantity generators. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires that facility personnel be trained to “perform their duties in a way that ensures the facility’s compliance” with hazardous waste regulations.

DOT HAZMAT TRANSPORTATION OVERVIEW
(AFTERNOON SESSION)
Comprehensive training for shippers, handlers & transporters. Students are updated with regulatory changes and are given training in the use and application of the 49 CFR manual. Are you meeting hazmat training requirements? Every employee involved in shipping, transporting, or handling hazardous materials must receive training to be certified; the training must be repeated at least every 36 months; and the training must be updated whenever there is a regulation change affecting an employee’s job duties. All employees must be trained in hazmat compliance before performing hazmat activities in the workplace. This course will also provide train-the-trainer basics

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

All employees who are responsible for hazmat employee training; preparing/signing shipping papers; placarding; security; marking and labeling; packaging; loading and unloading of vehicles; and other activities that are regulated under the DOT hazmat regulations.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

To run the event we will need a minimum of 10 people in attendance. Spread the word so we have a good attendance!

ATTENDEE INFORMATION Fax info below by March 4, 2016 to 608-257-7656
Please clearly note the following information so that a certificate can be presented upon completion of the Wednesday, March 9, 2016 RCRA/DOT Hazmat training:

NAME                ORGANIZATION              EMAIL              PHONE

__________________________________________________

__________________________________________________

__________________________________________________

If you handle hazardous waste, you must be properly trained

Why might your office manager require hazardous waste training? Anybody who handles hazardous waste in some capacity – even signing a manifest for shipping – must be certified. If you’re looking for a class to fulfill these requirements, Wisconsin Healthcare for a Healthy Environment (WH2E) is holding a discounted training session in March. Those who might benefit from hazardous waste training, especially if they’ve not had it in the last three years, include Environmental Service Managers, Plant Operations  Facilities Managers or Safety Managers. Read more

It’s time for infectious waste producers to file their annual report(s)

MERI’s online customer portal helps you to easily retrieve info needed for your 2014 WI DNR Infectious waste annual report – due by 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2106.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 2014 Infectious Waste Annual Reporting is now OPEN!

This is the first time the DNR is requiring infectious waste generators to submit their reports online.  This process must be started – and, if possible, all information inputted – by January 22, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.

By now, you should have received an email from the DNR notifying you of instructions to ensure everything gets filed correctly and on time.  If not, Please email DNRMedicalWaste@wisconsin.gov. Also, follow this link to inform the DNR if your facility has a new contact person or to make changes to the existing contact.

Who Needs to File Infectious Waste Report

If your business or institution generates infectious waste, you may need to file one or two different reports to the DNR: A Medical Waste Reduction Plan and/or an Infectious Waste Annual Report. Whether you need to file one or both reports depends on the type/amount of waste you produce and your disposal techniques.

In our earlier post we outlined how you can determine whether you are exempt or need to file. We also included some tips to walk you through when creating a waste reduction annual plan and an infectious waste annual report.

Easy Way for MERI Customers to Get Needed Info

MERI’s online customer portal makes it easy to retrieve the waste information you need to file your reports quickly. This software allows you to:

* Retrieve manifests that include cradle-to-grave documentation of infectious waste.

* Receive a report detailing the total weight of treated waste over a specific date range.

* Update your contact information.

We’ve already sent every MERI customer a link to the portal along with the required password. If you’re having trouble accessing the portal, please contact us by phone or email and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Still Have Questions About Your Infectious Waste Report?

If you have any questions about filing your reports in general, please contact the Wisconsin’s DNR website, which provides a full list of requirements and exemptions for filing both reports.

Learn how to easily track, properly handle, and affordably dispose your biohazard or infectious waste.

Download Your
Infectious Waste Compliance Guide

Mercury Reduction in Waterstream

Environmentally-Friendly Madison, WI Dentists Keep Amalgam — and Mercury — from Going Down the Drain

Throughout the country, it’s been estimated that dentists handle about one to two pounds of amalgam each year, mainly in the form of old silver-colored fillings removed from teeth. In Wisconsin, amalgam waste cannot be flushed down the drain due to regulations from local municipal wastewater authorities.  How do you dispose of amalgam compliantly yet cost-effectively? 

Before we get into inexpensive ways to properly dispose amalgam, here is a recap of why it can’t go down the drain.

What’s Wrong With Amalgam? 

The problem with amalgam is that it is about 50 percent mercury by weight. Even those with limited chemistry knowledge generally know one thing about mercury: It’s bad for the environment.

Once mercury enters the water stream, microorganisms convert it into methyl mercury – a highly toxic compound that then accumulates in fish, shellfish and any animals that eat them. This exposure rises straight to the top of the food chain, leading to methyl mercury exposure in humans.

EPA studies showed that, unless there was a large industrial source in a community, dental offices using silver amalgam were the single largest source of mercury discharged to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), accounting for nearly half of the mercury it received.

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) in Wisconsin was one of the first municipal wastewater authorities in the state to regulate dental amalgam. By working with the local dental community, MMSD was able to significantly reduce mercury in its discharge. The dotted line represents the deadline for dental clinics in MMSD’s service area to install amalgam separators to capture amalgam from dental wastewater, preventing it from entering the sewer.However, changes like at MMSD can only be effective if dentists everywhere understand the importance of being good environmental stewards. 

It will likely not be as much of a problem in the future as dentists are switching from using amalgam fillings to safer alternatives, such as resin composites. But, since so many existing fillings may contain mercury, it could take a generation for amalgam fillings to fully disappear as a mercury source at dental clinics. 

Even if your local municipality does not currently have amalgam regulations, it’s possible that the Environmental Protection Agency will mandate all dentists to have special mercury collection devices in the next few years.

Disposing Your Amalgam Compliantly and Inexpensively

Many environmentally friendly dentists now have a chair-side vacuum line that collects large chunks of the alloy drilled out of teeth. The installation of filters or gravity separators remove 95% or more of the remaining amalgam in the sludge of water, saliva and other fluids suctioned out of a mouth.  This material is collected in a special trap or canister.

At MERI, we pick up amalgam from chair-side traps and mercury capsules, at the same time we pick up other hazardous waste from dental offices. Besides amalgam, MERI also collects hazardous materials like lead aprons, fixer, developer and pharmaceuticals such as Lidocaine.

Because MERI picks up hazardous materials at the time we are picking up sharps and other biohazard materials, there is no additional stop fee. 

Just give us a call ahead of time to make sure that the proper hazardous paperwork is prepared ahead of time before arriving to collect your amalgam or other hazardous materials.

If you’ve yet to find a compliant, inexpensive way to dispose of amalgam, give us a call!

###

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.38.09 PMWhen someone calls to check out our medical or biohazard disposal services, they immediately ask, “What’s it going to cost?” That depends on a couple of answers, including whether the material being collected is infectious or hazardous waste, as well as how often it needs to get picked up.

Read more

preparing for a minor industrial accident

Are you prepared it an accident occurs in your industrial plant? A medical waste mailback kit helps clean up after a minor industrial accident. And, it provides documentation so that you can record everything was not only cleaned up but also properly disposed.  These mailback kits are important because every industrial plant has a legal obligation to develop an accident control plan. As part of this control plan, specific employees must be trained on how to correctly clean up and dispose of blood and the waste generated in an incident.  

One big misconception among many facility managers is that there’s nothing particularly difficult about cleaning up blood following an accident. Most believe it’s as simple as grabbing some washcloths, wiping it up, and tossing the waste in the trash.

Yet, the procedure for cleaning even a small amount of blood is a bit more involved. In fact, not following the correct protocol places your employees at risk, and creates a liability issue for your facility.

The reason why has to do with a federal agency you’re probably familiar with: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OSHA. Because of the potential pathogens blood carries, OSHA takes workplace accidents – especially those that involve blood – extremely seriously.

So what can you do to keep your employees safe and your facility compliant? Keeping a Medical Waste Mailback kit may be your answer to both.

What is a Biohazard Blood Spill Clean Up & Disposal Kit?

For those who don’t know, a Medical Waste Mailback Kit is a simple way to disinfect, dispose and dispose medical waste through the mail. This includes material absorbed in blood, vomit, urine or feces.

This all-in-one, pre-paid postage mail kit is great to have on hand for an emergency clean up and compliant disposal of an infectious spill in a school, bus, lab, retail or industrial setting. It’s also good for biohazard waste, including sharps or broken glass.

DOT and USPS Certified

This kit is certified by both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the United States Postal Service (USPS). Each mailback kit holds up to eight pounds of absorbed infectious waste and sharps. Best of all, it comes with a manifest to help meet OSHA regulations to document an accident involving blood borne pathogens.

Using MERI’s mailback system is fairly straightforward. Each kit comes pre-stamped, so you can ship it directly to a medical waste disposal company once the container filled.

MERI’s blood spill and medical waste maiback kits are used in households of diabetics, at nursing homes, or at other medical facilities that regularly produce small amounts of medical waste. Yet, for industrial plants, they can also be vital when an accident arises.

Why Every Industrial Plant Needs a Medical Waste Mail Back Kit

OSHA requires a select few employees – often a manager or safety specialist – to undergo annual bloodborne pathogen training. Part of that training involves learning how to properly and safely clean up blood.

Bloody waste is not like standard garbage. It carries diseases. Saturated bloody waste is medical waste.

Often, medical waste requires a medical waste disposal service to pick up the waste. For small amounts of waste, paying for a service to come to your facility can seem overly expensive.

MERI’s blood spill and medical waste kits are quick to ship, fully compliant with all medical waste disposal and shipping laws, and cost about half that of transportation. They can also be useful beyond accident response. For instance, some industrial plants have a first aid or nurse’s station where a nurse collects bloody materials or administers shots. This kit could provide a simple way for these nurses to dispose this medical waste and needles or other sharp devices.

It’s important to note that if you ever have a larger spill or produce more than four pounds of medical waste per month, you should call a medical waste disposal facility like MERI to handle it. Mailback kits are best for smaller amounts of medical waste.

Still, in an industrial plant, you never know when an injury will arise that suddenly creates small amounts of medical waste. Keep a MERI blood spill or medical waste kit handy so you can safely and lawfully handle the situation when the time comes.

Learn how to easily track, properly handle, and affordably dispose your biohazard or infectious waste.

Download Your
Infectious Waste Compliance Guide

The medical waste mail back system comes with a lot of options
We often write about how convenient the medical waste mail back system is for small waste generators. But what you might not realize is just how versatile the system is. Getting the most out of a medical mail back kit comes down to selecting the right container for your needs. Read more