Dental centers must be aware of the federal and state regulations associated with different types of dental waste, including hazardous waste. To ensure proper handling, management, and disposal of hazardous waste, a comprehensive infection control and safety program should include policies, procedures, and practices related to dental waste. It is important to remember that while the responsibility of properly handling dental waste lies with the waste transporter, the dental office assumes final responsibility and possible liability if dental waste is not properly disposed of or is spilled or dumped on the way to a disposal site. To ensure safety when dealing with hazardous waste in a dental office, it is essential to have a well-defined protocol in place.
This protocol should include identifying hazardous waste, segregating it from other types of waste, labeling containers used for storing hazardous waste, storing it in a secure area, transporting it safely, and disposing of it according to regulations. All staff members should be trained to identify hazardous waste and understand the regulations associated with it. This includes understanding the different types of hazardous waste, such as sharps, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Hazardous waste should be segregated from other types of waste and all containers used for storing hazardous waste should be clearly labeled.
The containers should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. All staff members who are responsible for transporting hazardous waste should be trained on how to do so safely and be aware of any regulations that apply to transporting hazardous waste. All staff members should also be aware of the regulations regarding the disposal of hazardous waste and any local laws that may apply. By following these safety protocols, dental offices can ensure that they are properly managing and disposing of hazardous waste. This will help protect both staff members and patients from potential harm.