The risk of injury when collecting, transporting and disposing of disposable injection syringes remains quite high even when all precautions are taken. Disposable syringes belong to medical waste which is classified as hazardous. The needle is the most dangerous element because it comes into direct contact with the blood of patients. The syringe and needle disposal algorithm consists of several stages, at each of which personnel providing medical waste disposal services can be exposed to a certain risk of injury and infection. The sharp steel tip of the needle is able to pierce not only a disposable medical glove, but also a durable plastic container. The only way to reduce risks for medical waste disposal services staff who come into contact with medical waste is to reduce the time between use and disposal of syringes and needles and minimize physical contact with them.
Disinfection and disposal of used injection syringes should be carried out using the special methods. This depends on the application of the products. Any materials that have been in contact with infectious patients should be handled separately.
A number of features should be taken into account:
• collection and storage of products is carried out strictly according to the rules, in sealed containers with labeling;
• hazardous waste is removed and disposed of separately, undergoing additional processing;
• when disposing of disposable syringes, different materials are handled separately;
• attention should be paid to the remains of biological fluids, vaccines, drugs.
Improperly performed work will cause dangerous substances to enter the environment. If the medical waste disposal services are not carried out according to the rules, there might be negative consequences.
Material processing methods
For the processing and disposal of used medical needles and syringes, methods of autoclaving, burning in special ovens, chemical treatment and neutralization are used by medical waste disposal services. Also very often a syringe destructor for the intermediate disposal of syringes and needles is used and it does not require special training of personnel. The device is extremely easy to use. It has a significantly lower cost in comparison with other methods and is not inferior to them in terms of reliability and functionality. The destructor is a compact device that is placed in the room. It serves for disinfection, destruction, disposal of syringes and needles immediately after use. The device meets sanitary requirements and is safe to use. There are two kinds of destructors:
• Mechanical. The metal needle is destroyed with the help of hidden knives. The disadvantage of such a device is that the biological materials that have entered the destructor are not processed, and the nozzle remains sharp. A healthcare worker could be injured while removing the waste container, that’s why it’s better to trust the process of destruction to the special medical waste disposal services.
• Electrical. The principle of operation of the device is to burn the needle. A high voltage is applied to it, which completely melts the metal. The temperature at the same time exceeds 700 ° F, which leads to complete disinfection of waste.
A number of requirements for the choice of methods should be taken into account:
• outdated procedures are not applicable, they do not allow to remove the harmful impact;
• separate processing of preparations and biological fluids is obligatory;
• secondary use of received materials in this case is not allowed;
• destruction must be complete, otherwise the landfills will be overloaded with garbage.
Previously, it was enough to take products to a special landfill and bury them for long-term processing. But such a method is unacceptable in the conditions of a constant increase in the number of materials. Therefore, more efficient technologies are used to dispose of used syringes and needles after injections.