For many businesses, reopening after the coronavirus lockdown will be stressful. No one wants to trigger another outbreak. Especially one that will cause everything to close again.
Here’s a check list of some things to keep in mind when re-opening. It includes what to do with soiled PPE, including what to do with masks and gloves.
First and foremost, before reopening, take a look at the CDC’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting. Also look over your state and county recommendations. In Wisconsin, check out this one by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
In addition, weigh the comfort level of your employees returning to work. Discuss their ability to wear protective equipment, and when they need to wear it. Decide what type of waste you may be generating. More importantly, how will you dispose of it? Coronavirus waste is a regulated medical waste and must go in a red biohazard bag. It can’t go out in the dumpster with your other business trash.
Changing Out Sharps Boxes
Restaurants and hair salons are slowly turning the dial on opening up, with a select number of patrons inside of their facility at any one time. They are disinfecting everything before they reopen and throughout the day when the are open.
Many are thinking of ways to contain any potentially infectious waste that may enter their facility. They are adding sharps containers in their restrooms for people to have a way to dispose of a lancet, EPI pen, or other injectable medicine. Or, if they already have a sharps wall box, they are replacing the insert with a fresh one as part of their cleaning process.
Microbladers and tattoo artists also are clearing out their old sharps biohazard containers. They are beginning anew as they get ready to open their body art shops. Remember, some of these sharps have been sitting for a while. In many states, needles and other infectious waste must be cleared out quarterly.
Part of your company’s future emergency plan may include getting a blood spill kit or biohazard box to collect all infectious items, such as sharps and blood borne pathogens, for proper disposal.
Many Chemicals Are Hazardous Waste
A lot of cleaning chemicals are hazardous. Read the instructions on how to properly dispose of them if their expiry date has past. Expired hand sanitizer can’t be dumped in the trash. Instead, it must be properly disposed as hazardous waste.
What to do with Used PPE?
As masks are recommended to be worn, many are wondering what to do with them afterward. If they are a reusable cloth mask, wash them at the end of the day.
Disposable gloves and face masks can be placed in the trash, unless your facility would like to take extra precautions and arrange for it to be collected and disposed of by a licensed medical waste treatment facility.
If an employee tests positive for Covid-19, it is recommended that all cleaning materials after remediation go into a biohazard bag.
Properly Package Waste at Nursing and Medical Facilities
Medical facilities, including dental offices, nursing homes and veterinary clinics, deal with medical waste every day. They know the importance of properly packaging waste before it is collected for disposal.
But just a refresher, before reopening, hang up this poster on how to prepare waste for shipment. Also, watch this video on how to properly tie a biohazard bag.
In addition, when reopening, remind staffers that biohazard containers are not a catchall for all kinds of waste. Review this infectious waste compliance guide with them.
Needles must first go in a rigid sharps box before it goes into a larger red biohazard container. Infectious items that can go into the red biohazard bag include:
- Sharps Containers
- Bloody Gauze
- Used Specimen Swabs
- Urine Specimen Cups
- Urine Dipsticks
- Blood-Soaked Drapes
- Gloves, or anything contaminated with feces.
It is all in this free poster: “What Goes in a Red Bio Bag?”
Covid-19 Waste Must Be Properly Disposed
Finally, remember that Covid-19 waste is a regulated medical waste. It must go in a red biohazard bag that is properly closed and sealed in a biohazard container. It must also be disposed of at a licensed treatment facility, such as MERI.
Questions? Give us a call at 608-257-7652