Complying with OSHA with the Right Medical Waste Containers

Enacted by OSHA in 1991, the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard was designed to protect those who work in healthcare and related occupations. In an effort to accomplish this goal, the standard includes guidelines for the management of sharps, the disposal of regulated waste and training of employees.

Creating an Exposure Control Plan

As part of OSHA’s regulations, facilities must develop an exposure control plan. This is a written plan that outlines the protective measures the employer must follow in order to minimize employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens. This plan must contain the procedure for determining the type of exposure, for evaluating the circumstances surrounding the incident and a schedule for when the provisions of the standard will be implemented.

Identifying Regulated Waste

For the purpose of OSHA regulations, “regulated waste” is defined as any liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material. It also includes items contaminated with these fluids or caked with these dried fluids. Contaminated sharps and pathological or microbiological waste containing these fluids are also considered regulated waste.

Managing Sharps

OSHA has specific guidelines for managing sharps. All sharps containers must be labeled with the universal biohazard symbol. They also need to either contain the word “biohazard” or be color-coded with red. They must also be kept in an upright position and replaced routinely. In addition, sharps containers can never be allowed to overfill and they must be closed immediately prior to their removal in order to prevent spillage.

If leakage is possible, the sharps must be placed in a second container that is closable and constructed to contain all of the contents of the sharps container throughout the handling, storage and transport process. When using reusable containers, they cannot be opened, emptied or manually cleaned. Duct tape may be used to secure the lid of a sharps container so long as the tape does not serve as the actual lid.

In places where sharps containers are needed, they should be placed in an area that is easily accessible to employees. In most cases, this means placing the container in the area where the sharps are used, such as in patient care areas. In some facilities, such as psychiatric units or correctional facilities, this type of placement may not be practical. In this situations, a mobile cart in which the sharps container is locked may be necessary.

Training Employees

In addition to having the proper medical containers in place, OSHA regulations require the proper training of employees. Any employee who is at risk of occupational exposure to regulated waste must receive initial training as well as annual training. The person providing the training must be knowledgeable in the subject matter and must be familiar with the subject matter applies to the workplace where the training is being provided. The trainer must also be able to demonstrate expertise in bloodborne pathogens.

To get started with putting together your plan for addressing bloodborne pathogens in the workplace, visit the medical waste containers page on Securr. We will be sure to have a container to meet your needs!

Medical Waste Regulations: Who Creates Them and Who Enforces Them?

Also referred to as biohazardous waste or as infectious medical waste, regulated medical waste (RMW) is any type of waste that is potentially contaminated by blood, body fluids or other materials that may cause infection. There are several different categories of waste that may be regulated, with each of these categories requiring special handling. How are these regulations determined and how can medical waste containers help to ensure you are in compliance?

Who Creates the Regulations?

In the past, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) played a central role in determining how medical waste needed to be handled. Today, the EPA no longer plays such a significant role in the process. Instead, these regulations are handled largely by each state with other federal agencies handling some of the responsibility.

Many people are surprised to learn that Federal law does not explicitly define medical waste. Nearly each of the 50 state, however, has enacted medical waste regulations. While some of these regulations are based on the Medical Waste Tracking Act, which was established in the 1980s by the EPA and identified which types of waste were to be regulated, other state laws bear no resemblance to this old law.

While the state’s environmental protection agency may play a key role in the regulating of medical waste, other states place the responsibility primarily on the department of health. In other states, both departments play a key part, with the health department focusing primarily on on-site management and the environmental agency being responsible for the transportation and disposal of the waste.

What are Some Common Procedures for Removal of Medical Waste?

Most state laws require RMW to be rendered non-infectious before it can be fully disposed of. Most also have regulations regarding how the waste is to be packaged, stored and transported. In some states, health care facilities are required to register or to obtain a permit for the waste. Yet others require facilities to develop contingency plans and on-site treatment plans, while others have strict guidelines related to training, recordkeeping, reporting and tracking the waste.

Who Monitors the Regulations?

In addition to the potential involvement of a state health department and environmental agency, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration plays a role in monitoring facilities to ensure they are in compliance with all health regulations. Some states also have their own OSHA programs that may be involved with this process. In states with comprehensive medical waste regulations, there is sometimes an overlap between the state regulations and the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard. There typically are not conflicts between these regulations, but there are times where one set of rules may be vague while the other is highly specific. In these cases, healthcare facilities follow the more detailed regulations.

Securr is pleased to offer a number of medical waste containers that meet the regulations established by both state and federal regulatory commissions. Whether in need of a kiosk for sharps or other medical waste, we have both indoor and outdoor varieties available.

4 Reasons to Donate Clothes to Your Favorite Charity

Do you have clothes that you no longer wear, but you are not sure what to do with them? While two of your options are to simply throw them out or to sell them at a garage sale, you might want to consider donating them instead. Not only does this eliminate the hassles of having to host a garage sale, but there are many other benefits associated with donating clothes to charity. Here is a look at just a few.

Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Throwing away clothes typically means they are going to end up in a landfill. By donating the clothes instead, you help to save landfill space while also helping to reduce greenhouse gases. While many clothes are made from organic materials, landfills lack the oxygen that is needed to break these materials down. Therefore, the process of breaking down the clothes relies upon anaerobic digestion. This process results in greenhouse gas emissions, most of which escape into the atmosphere and help to accelerate climate change. Some estimate that recycling 100 million pounds of clothes is the equivalent of removing 26,000 to 35,000 cars from the road.

Saving Landfill Space

In addition to being better for the environment, saving landfill space also has a positive impact on the economy. An estimated 12 million tons of clothing end up in the landfill every year. With landfills costing millions of dollars to build and millions more to operate, minimizing the amount of waste that is sent to them helps to reduce the dollars that are spent on maintaining them and building new ones.

Save Energy

Making new clothes requires a complex manufacturing process that uses a great deal of energy. Recycling clothes by donating them helps to reduce the need to create new clothes, thereby helping to conserve energy.

Helping People in Need

A number of nonprofit organizations collect clothes to help those in need. The way the clothes are used to assist others can vary widely. For example, some organizations sell the clothes at a low cost. Not only does this make clothing available to those who do not have a lot of money to spare, but the money is then used to help fund problems to further assist those in need. Yet other programs give the clothes directly to those in need.

Some nonprofit organizations may focus on specific missions, such as providing people with professional clothes to wear at job interviews. Yet others may focus on providing clothes to families that have faced hardships, such as a house fire. Yet others may send the clothes to developing countries in order to support businesses or to provide clothing for those in need. By exploring the various charities that are available, you can select the one that best suits your personal mission.

In some cases, nonprofit organizations require donors to drop their clothing donations off directly at a specific location. Others may set out collection bins such as those made by Securr to make it easier for donors to drop off their clothes. Once you have selected the charity that you wish to support, it is a good idea to give them a call in order to find out how the donations should be dropped off.

5 Steps for Creating Clean City Parks

City parks offer a great way to enjoy time outdoors and to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, the joy of spending time at a park can be negatively impacted when people fail to keep the park clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. As a park manager, there are several steps that can be taken to help keep the park looking great for everyone.

Step #1: Make Good Use of Recycling and Trash Receptacles

Perhaps the most important step to take toward keeping a park clean is to provide ample recycling and trash receptacles throughout the park. More receptacles should be placed near the areas where people are the most likely to congregate or to generate trash. Pavilions, concession stands and any other places where food will be served are particularly important areas for trash and recycling bins.

Step #2: Implement and Enforce Fines

Once the receptacles are in place, you can post signs throughout the park that encourage patrons to throw away their trash. Signs such as “Please Help Keep Our Park Clean” can serve as gentle reminders. To take it a step further, consider adding reminders that littering in the park is against the law and is punishable by fine. Of course, punishing by fine will do little to deter litterers if these fines are not enforced. Working closely with law enforcement to actively cite offenders will go a long way toward keeping your park clean.

Step #3: Maintain Staffing

Maintaining ample staffing is obviously something that is dependent upon your park’s budget. If possible, however, you should ensure the park is properly staffed with a regular cleaning schedule. In addition to emptying out trash and recycling receptacles, staff should be responsible for picking up trash that has not bee properly placed in a trash bin. Keeping the park clean should be a top priority for all staff members.

Step #4: Enlist in the Help of the Community

Getting the community involved with keeping the park clean is a great way to build civic pride while also keeping your facilities looking great. Contact volunteer groups to see if they would be willing to come to the park to clean on occasion. Hosting a “beautification day” is a great way to get volunteers to the park to help keep it looking great. You might even find a way to turn the effort into a competition with prizes given to those groups that collect the most trash.

Step #5: Prohibit Alcohol and Smoking

Cigarette butts and alcohol containers can become a serious problem in some parks. To help reduce the potential for litter, consider prohibiting both cigarettes and alcohol in your park. If making the park alcohol and cigarette-free is not possible, consider creating a designated section for alcohol and cigarettes and placing many trash receptacles in the area.

While taking these five steps does not guarantee a trash-free park, it will significantly reduce the amount of garbage cluttering the beauty and recreational opportunities your park has to offer.

 

Safety Tips for Enjoying a Great Springtime Camping Trip

With spring upon us, you might be starting to feel the itch to go camping. While camping can be a fun adventure or a much-needed getaway, it is also essential to take a few steps to keep yourself safe while camping.

Avoid Contaminated Water and Food

Before you head out on your camping trip, you will want to gather plenty of water and food to take with you. To prevent contamination, be sure to pack the food in tight, waterproof bags or containers within an insulated cooler. Before preparing the food, wash your hands thoroughly. If water is not available, use hand sanitizer. Throughout the trip, be sure to keep raw foods separate from cooked foods and to chill foods promptly after you are done with them.

Prepare for Wild Animals

Not only are wild animals dangerous in terms of potential attacks, but some also carry diseases. Therefore, you should avoid touching, feeding or otherwise getting near to wild animals. You should also keep your food in sealed containers and out of reach of animals in order to avoid attracting them to your campsite. When disposing of trash at a campground where bears are known to inhabit, be sure to place the trash in a bear-resistant enclosure. This will help prevent bears from wandering on to your campsite.

Use Insect Repellents

Ticks, mosquitoes and other insects can cause more than discomfort with their bites, as some carry potentially serious diseases. To prevent bites, apply an insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin. Check yourself and your pets for ticks each day and remove them right away. You can also help to prevent bites by wearing pants, long sleeves and light-colored clothing, which will help you to spot ticks more easily.

Prepare for the Weather

Temperature, sun and other weather-related illnesses can be avoided by taking a few precautions. To prevent hypothermia from developing during cool nights, bring plenty of bedding as well as clothes that can be layered to suit the current conditions. You should also use a plastic ground clothe under your tent in order to keep yourself dry.

To prevent heat-related illnesses, drink plenty of sugar-free and alcohol-free fluids. Drink throughout the day rather than waiting until you feel thirsty to drink. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting and light-weight clothing while in the sun and take frequent breaks in the shade. Also, keep in mind that harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation can still reach you on cloudy and hazy days. To protect yourself from the sun, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and lipscreen with at least SPF 15. Wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat will also help to protect you from UV rays.

Protect Against Carbon Monoxide

While on a camping trip, you may use fuel-burning equipment such as lanterns, gas stoves, heaters and charcoal grills. While these are helpful items to use, they should never be used inside a camper, tent or other enclosed shelter. Doing so could allow dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which is an odorless and colorless gas, to build up. Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause illness or even death.

Safely Removing Medical Waste from the Workplace

While those who work in the medical field are the most likely to encounter medical waste, the reality is that workers in just about any setting may encounter medical waste from time to time. Therefore, it is essential for all employees to know how to properly handle medical waste if such as situation were to arise. While all employers should have standard operating procedures in place for reporting and handling medical waste, here are a few safety tips that should always be followed.

Treat Waste as Hazardous

If you should happen upon a red bag, a red sharps container or anything else that is marked with the biohazard symbol, you should treat it as though it contains hazardous material. The same is true with any sharps, blood or materials that appear to have blood in them. Before covering or handling the material, you should notify a supervisor. If this requires leaving the area to find a supervisor, barricade or otherwise mark the area as much as possible in order to prevent others from stumbling upon the waste.

Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Before handling medical waste, be sure to put on the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). Wear gloves to protect your hands. While rubber gloves will help to protect you from pathogens, leather gloves may be necessary if you are handling sharps. In this way, you will be protected against possible punctures. Similarly, you may need to wear 6-inch lace-up boots with steel toes and puncture-resistant soles in order to protect your feet and ankles. If there is the potential to be exposed to infectious agents, you should cover your arms and other skin surfaces in order to keep them protected. Safety glasses and a hard hat may also be necessary to protect your head and face from potential splashes. Other types of special equipment, such as face shields, respirators, boot covers, dust masks and impervious clothing. may also be necessary to keep you protected.

Use the Proper Cleaning Methods

Often, cleaning medical waste involves doing more than simply picking up an item and disposing of it. Rather, it may require cleaning the area in order to remove all pathogens. In this case, you should use some sort of equipment to clean the waste rather than cleaning it directly with your hands. Whether you are using equipment or not, you should wear gloves to minimize your chances of getting cut or being exposed to pathogens. While cleaning, never reach into an area where you cannot see and remain constantly aware of sharps or other hazardous materials that may be in the area.

Dispose of PPE Properly

Once you have disposed of the waste, you also need to take steps to dispose of the PPE that you used while removing it. All clothing that came in contact with the waste should be removed as soon as possible, taking care to avoid contact with exposed skin. Remove the gloves last so your hands are not coming in direct contact with the other clothing items that you remove. Once the items have been removed, place them in closable, leak proof bags or containers.  

Exploring the Securr ValueLine Series of Trash Receptacles

Who says you have to give up quality in order to save money when purchasing trash receptacles? At Securr, we are pleased to offer the ValueLine series of trash receptacles as one of our many options available. While these receptacles do not have the extra features that are found in some of our other lines, such as the ability to include advertisements for marketing purposes, these receptacles offer the same quality construction that you have come to expect from Securr. Examples of the products available within our ValueLine series are as follows.

36 Gallon Square Indoor Trash Can

This powder-coated, 36-gallon indoor waste receptacle is made from durable, corrosion-resistant 18-gauge galvannealed steel. With their UV resistant powder coated finish, these receptacles can endure many years of use in even the harshest of indoor environments. Features include side opening doors, which allows the contents to be removed from the side instead of the top, a easy to remove rigid liner and a high-quality locking latch. This receptacle is available in black, forest brown, olive green, fir green and sky blue.

40 Gallon Square Outdoor Trash Can

This multi-panel, 40-gallon outdoor waste receptacle is constructed with heavy-gauge galvannealed steel frames and UV-resistant powder coated finishes, allowing them to withstand harsh outdoor elements. Other features include a hinged top, which allows for easy access to the contents, and a built-in bag ring.

Featuring interchangeable side panels that are bolted into place, the panels can be easily replaced in the event of damage without needing to replace the entire receptacle. Available frame colors include black, forest brown, olive green, fir green and sky blue while panel options include stainless steel and powder coated steel. Custom panel colors are available upon request, including the option to have side panels that are a different color than the frame in order to create a two-tone look.

32 Gallon Slim Jim Rectangle Outdoor Trash Can

This Slim Jim, 32-gallon rectangle outdoor trash can offers a slim profile that makes it perfect for use in areas where space is at a premium or where heavy foot traffic is common. This includes areas such as airports, bus terminals, city sidewalks and walkways, shopping malls and train stations. Constructed from 18 gauge galvannealed steel with a UV-resistant powder coated finish, these ADA compliant receptacles are built to last.

Features of the 32 gallon Slim Jim trash can include side opening doors, which allows the waste to removed from the side rather than the top, as well as a rigid liner that allows for fast and easy maintenance. A high-quality locking latch is also included. Available colors include black, forest brown, olive green, fir green and sky blue.

36 Gallon Square Outdoor Trash Can

This 36-gallon square outdoor receptacle is constructed from 18 gauge galvannealed steel with a UV resistant powder coated finish, making it capable of withstanding the harshest environments. Other features include side opening doors to allow for easier removal of trash as well as a rigid liner to make maintenance easier. This receptacle also includes a high-quality locking latch and is available in black, forest brown, olive green, fir green and sky blue.

Creating a Safer and Cleaner Environment with Trash Enclosures

When it comes to keeping your employees safe while also allowing them to work as efficiently as possible, it is necessary to give them the proper tools and materials. While trash removal is something that is often overlooked when making plans for a business or an organization, it is an essential component that must be addressed from a practical and proactive sort of way.

Let’s face it, trash can pile up quickly. Not only is it an eyesore, but it also creates a potentially unsafe workplace or business for both employees and customers. So, how can this be addressed in the best way possible? One excellent option is to purchase enclosures for your trash and recycling receptacles.

What are Trash Enclosures?

As the name implies, trash enclosures are like little garages in which you park your trash receptacle. As such, they are often referred to as cart garages. While the waste does not go directly into the trash enclosure, the enclosure holds the receptacle and contains a slot through which the trash can be passed into the receptacle.

What are the Benefits to Trash Enclosures? Trash enclosures offer many benefits. First, since they hold the trash receptacle inside of an additional structure, it helps to reduce the visibility of the trash. The enclosure also keeps the trash from being exposed to weather elements, thereby reducing the chance of it being blown from the receptacle or becoming soaked by rain or snow. This also prevents passersby from touching the trash, thereby reducing risk of injury.

As an employer, trash enclosures also help to keep your employees safe. In addition to preventing them from being overly exposed to the waste, a trash cart can be easily wheeled in and out of the enclosure. This allows employees to empty the trash by simply pulling out the cart and moving it to where the trash is to be dumped. These carts are also specifically designed to be used in the automated trash removal process, thereby allowing you to collect an extensive amount of waste and then rolling the receptacle to the area where an automated system can dump the contents into a dumpster or garbage truck.

Purchasing a Trash Enclosure for Your Business or Organization

At Securr, we are pleased to offer a variety of different trash enclosures from which you can choose, allowing you to select the size and design that best suits your needs. Options include 32-gallon, 65-gallon and 95-gallon options in either a solid body design or with the laser cut logo option. With both designs, the side panels are interchangeable and bolt in for easy replacement. In this way, if the panel is damaged, you can easily remove and replace the panel without needing to replace the entire receptacle. Both styles are also constructed with high-grade materials and finishes, including stainless steel hinges, UV resistant powder coat and galvanealed steel frames. As such, they offer exceptional corrosion resistance in even the harshest of environments. Visit the Securr website to learn more about our available trash and recycling enclosures.

Collecting E-Waste with the Help of Securr E-Waste Bins

Despite the impact that electronics have on our every day life, many people are unaware of the impact that e-waste has on our environment. To get a better idea of the effects of e-waste as well as how you can help to control it, it is beneficial to learn more about what it is and how to collect it.

Understanding E-Waste

E-waste is the informal name given to electronic products that are no longer considered to be useful, either because they are outdated or are no longer properly functioning. This includes items such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, cell phones, fax machines, PDAs and copiers. While the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 was passed in an effort to assist with the recovery and recycling of such items, no clear definition of “e-waste” currently exists. For example, whether or not items such as microwaves and other similar appliances should be grouped into the e-waste category has not been established through regulations.

The Hazards of E-Waste

Since certain components of some electronic products contain hazardous materials, some e-waste products can be viewed as hazardous waste. In California, for example, nonfunctioning cathode ray tubes from televisions and monitors are considered to be hazardous. Some of harmful materials that can be found in these electronic products include cadmium, beryllium, lead and mercury. While these materials might be found in trace elements, they create a significant threat to the environment when added up in volume.

Disposing of E-Waste

E-waste can be disposed of in a few different ways. For example, equipment that is still functioning can be donated or sold to someone who might be able to use it. If it is damaged, but can still be repaired, the item can also be refurbished for additional use. For those items that cannot be repaired, another option is to recycle the product. In addition to reducing the environmental impact from the trace elements found in these products, failure to recycle these items also results in failure to recycle the glass, plastic and metals found in these items.

Unfortunately, despite having the option to recycle or reuse, many of these electronic devices are still finding their way into landfills. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that as much as 60 million metric tons of electronic waste is tossed into landfills every year. One step toward eliminating this waste is to educate the public about the need for collecting e-waste while also making the collection process simple and convenient. With the help of e-waste collection bins, the amount of waste collected can be significantly increased.

At Securr, we are pleased to offer an Indoor E-Waste Collection Bin to help meet this need. Our ADA compliant e-waste collection bin is made from heavy duty, corrosion-resistant galannealed steel. As such, it looks attractive while also offering durability. With its chute-type loading door, contents can be easily dropped inside while remaining securely in place until the door is unlocked. The enclosure boasts a 40 gallon capacity, making it possible to collect cell phones, modems, computers, printers, batteries and other similar items.

Take Your Collections to the Next Level with a Donation Collection Bin from Securr

Are you a group or organization that is trying to collect items for a particular cause? Whether you are collecting clothes, books or other similar items, having a donation collection bin can help to make the process much easier. In fact, here are a few of the benefits associated with using a donation collection bin.

Benefit #1: Make Drop-Offs Easy

With the help of a donation bin, you make it possible for people to easily make donations to your organization. Even if you have a store or an office, your hours may not work well within the schedules of people who are interested in donating to your cause. By offering a donation bin, you make it possible to collect items at any time of the day. As such, some organizations choose to place a donation bin right outside of their door. Some also choose to keep the donation box locked during their normal business hours so donators must come inside to make their donations at that time.

Benefit #2: Expand Your Service Area

In addition to placing donation collection bins outside of your business, you can also place them at various locations throughout your community. This helps to further increase your donations by making it more convenient for donators to make contributions. If at all possible, place these bins near popular stores or other areas that tend to get a lot of traffic. This way, donators can quickly and easily make their donations while completing other errands.

Benefit #3: Keep Your Items Safe

Some organizations choose to use a large cardboard box or other similar items when collecting donations, but these makeshift donation bins leave your donated items open to theft. In addition, if the box is left outside, the items are susceptible to rain, snow and other weather elements. With the help of a donation collection bin, your items are kept securely inside where they cannot be easily taken by passersby. Furthermore, the collection bin can be safely kept outside with your donated items being protected from the elements.

The Donation Collection Bins available from Securr provide the ultimate in protection. Not only are they lockable, but they are also made from top quality materials. In fact, every bin is corrosion and UV resistant. As such, the bins consistently maintain a professional and attractive appearance while also protecting your collected items from the elements.

For added security and convenience, each of the Donation Collection Bins available through Securr are internally reinforced with a lockable latching mechanism, ensuring your items remain safely inside and protected from potential thieves. At the same time, each bin has a loading door that allows people to easily place books, clothing or other items inside without gaining access to the contents.

If you are ready to start taking your collections to the next level, take a look at the wide variety of Donation Collection Bins that Securr has to offer. We are sure to have the size, color and features that you need to help make your collections a success!