Managing Waste

Waste segregation and safe work practices are required to minimise the risks associated with waste handling. Correct waste segregation ensures that hazardous waste is not placed in the wrong system.

Waste segregation and handling

PPE must always be worn when handling waste

Waste must be contained in colour coded, labelled plastic bags

Sharps are to be placed immediately into suitable sharps containers which meet the required standards

Once an item/object has been placed in a waste bag, it should not be removed. There should be no double handling of waste

Waste bags must not be overfilled (approximately 2/3 capacity), and excess air should be released, without compaction, prior to closure, the bag should be closed using a bag tie at the point of waste generation

All waste bags should be held away from the body by the closed top of the bag and placed directly into a mobile garbage bin/wheelie bin or trolley

Mobile garbage bins/wheelie bins and trolleys should be used when transporting waste to decrease spills, minimise collector contact with waste, and minimise manual handling

Trolleys and mobile garbage bins/wheelie bins must be dedicated to collecting waste and must be made of rigid material, as well as being lidded, lockable (if used for storage), leakproof and washable 

Bins and trolleys should be labelled according to the type of waste contained in them, cleaned regularly, and must never be overfilled

Waste storage

Waste bags that are sealed and awaiting collection should be stored in a secure place with restricted access

Health facilities must provide an enclosed fenced area or separate loading bay to store waste

The holding area should be located away from food and clean storage areas

Only waste is to be stored in this area

The area must be locked and not accessible to the public

Cleaning trolleys and bins

Appropriate PPE should be worn when cleaning bins and trolleys

Rinse trolleys and/or bins with cold water, then wash with warm water and neutral detergent

Trolleys and mobile garbage bins/wheelie bins should then be drained into the sewer and left to dry

Clean trolleys and bins should be stored separately in soiled containers

Wastewater may only be diverted into the sewer

Clinical waste spills

Refer to the facility's Emergency Management Plan to address clinical waste spills. Make sure you know where the clinical waste spill kit is located. The kit should contain

A broom, pan and scraper, mop and bucket

A large (10 litre) reusable plastic container or bucket fitted with a lid containing:

Two clinical waste bags

General-purpose utility or heavy-duty rubber gloves

Detergent, sponges, and disposable cloths

Personal protective equipment - eye protection, waterproof apron or gown, face mask, heavy-duty gloves

Incident report form (unless computerised) and a waste spill sign

After use, the spill kit contents must be refilled after use and the kit must be checked regularly for missing and/or expired items