Classification of hospital pathological waste
With regard to equipment, this should include a variety of containers and transport carts, in the type and quantity necessary for the user to dispose of the waste generated during the care and support activities (stage 1, segregation), to remove it from the wards and store it temporarily in the service or plant warehouse (stage 2, intermediate storage), to transport it from the intermediate warehouses to the final storage areas of the center – usually one, but variable depending on the layout and total surface area of the hospital complex, intermediate storage), to transport them from the intermediate warehouses to the final storage areas of the center – usually one, but variable depending on the layout and total surface area of the hospital complex – (stage 3, intra-center transport), and finally, to store them in the final storage areas until their treatment or definitive removal from the center.
The differences in the two management frameworks will be observed initially in the equipment plan and subsequently in the type and financial allocation of the cleaning and waste management contracts in the operating phase of the center. In some cases, we can opt for technological solutions that increase the level of automation of intracenter management.
Hospital waste management in Argentina
Did you know that a 100-bed hospital produces up to 3400 tons of waste per day? In this post, we tell you how health facilities should manage waste and we present a new guide that seeks to guide project managers and implementers.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) publication HOSPITALES + LIMPIOS, guía para la gestión de residuos en establecimientos de salud, includes a series of tools aimed at the countries of the region, to improve the management of this type of waste with a comprehensive approach, so that this issue is addressed in a timely and informed manner from its planning to its operation. The publication summarizes the essential concepts of waste management, including the conceptual framework; regulatory aspects applicable in the different countries; tools for analyzing demand, management and economic evaluation of the different management options.
Waste treatment can be carried out individually within the facility (internal treatment) or outside the facility in a treatment plant that centralizes waste from a network of facilities (external treatment). The treatment method must guarantee the elimination of pathogenic microorganisms and, in some countries, render the waste unrecognizable for subsequent disposal in sites authorized as household waste.
How hospital waste is disposed of
– Presence of an infectious agent in the waste; – Sufficient concentration of infectious agent to have infective capacity; – Presence of a host susceptible to infection; – Presence of a gateway for access by the host germ.
The treatment plant at El Inga currently has the operating capacity and trained personnel to process 1,000 kg/hour of infectious hospital waste; the plant operates in two continuous shifts of eight hours each.
Waste treatment is based on eliminating risk by sterilizing infectious hospital waste through the application of high temperature and pressure for a certain period of time. For this purpose, there are currently three autoclaves, which use steam to reach high temperatures that eliminate the life forms of bacteria, germs, viruses, and other infectious agents.
Hospital waste which are
In order to avoid a health risk and to guarantee care for the environment, the regulations on health care waste distinguish between the management of this waste inside the hospital (intracenter) and outside the hospital (extracenter).
It is also important to note that there is no uniformity in the classification of this waste, and the specifications established in the regulations approved in each Autonomous Community are used as a reference.
These are wastes that do not require special requirements in their environmental management, as they are urban waste or are assimilated to urban waste, such as cardboard, paper, office and office equipment, kitchens, bars and canteens, etc.
Hospitals have two options for the environmental management of all this waste: either they hand it over to a waste manager or to the municipal urban waste collection service, in accordance with the provisions of regional regulations and municipal ordinances.
This group includes health care waste which, due to the risk of causing infection, requires management in which preventive measures are applied in its handling, collection, storage, transport and treatment.