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Control of aerosol (biological and nonbiological) and chemical exposures and safety hazards in medical waste treatment facilities.

Owen K; Hodson L; Leese K; Uhorchak R; Cole E
Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 1996 Dec; :1-286
The safety, aerosol, chemical, blood and microorganism hazards associated with work at medical waste treatment facilities (MWTFs) were evaluated, and the use of engineering controls was considered. Three MWTFs were selected for study, each with a different technology: off site steam autoclave, off site microwave, and on site pyrolysis. There were significant differences in process engineering at the three MWTFs. At the two off site facilities, there was extensive manual handling of wastes, resulting in frequent blood splashes. The on site facility handled prepackaged waste, with a smaller likelihood of leakage. All of the facilities had potential hazards, most of which were similar to those at most industrial facilities. The authors recommend that a uniform policy on the use of gloves be adopted at each facility. Adequate splash protection should be included in the personnel protective equipment. Protective clothing worn in the facility should not be worn home. To reduce transfer of contamination from the waste treatment areas to other areas, shoes that have been worn in the waste processing area should be changed or covered before entering office areas. Attention should be given to daily routine cleaning and decontamination of treatment unit surfaces and other potentially contaminated facility surfaces.
NIOSH-Contract; Contract-200-95-2960; Waste-disposal; Waste-treatment; Aerosols; Infection-control; Industrial-hygiene; Biohazards; Microorganisms; Body-fluids; Personal-protective-equipment
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Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Page last reviewed: March 4, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division