Tuesday, December 08 2015
How to properly package medical waste box in Virginia
Any Virginia healthcare facility or business such as a funeral home or even Virginia tattoo businesses that throw away or generate medical or Virginia sharps waste are responsible for preparing the red bag waste for pickup. This is called “packaging medical waste”. Proper packaging of Virginia biohazardous waste starts with ensuring appropriate setup, suitable types of red biohazard bags and acceptable disposal of items in the red bag.
1. Set up your medical waste container box.
Using corrugated medical waste boxes? Be sure to turn over and seal the bottom flaps with 2-inch wide, clear, packing tape. Or securely engage the bottom flaps of your auto-lock container. Top and bottom are distinguished by the printed arrows and text on the box. If you are using a reusable bin or tub, no setup is required.
2. Line your biohazard waste container with the red bio bag.
Use a red biohazard bag to line the inside of the container with the 4 sides overlapping the containers outer sides. Be sure to comply with any and all state-specific requirements for thickness of the red biohazard bags and be sure not to exceed the weight limitations of the container generally 40lbs.
3. Dispose of only medical waste and sharps in the red bag.
Know what is defined as medical waste in your state, Virginia. DON’T place medications, loose needles or other sharps, trash, trace chemotherapy or pathological waste in the red medical waste bag if not appropriate for your listed disposal service. Do place sealed, puncture-resistant disposable sharps containers in the red bag. Mark any pathological waste or trace chemotherapy waste for incineration and also package it separately from other red bag waste that is not routed for incineration. Fill the container as appropriate #2 leaving space at the top.
4. Gather, twist and tie the red biohazard bag.
While wearing gloves and other BSI protections gather the 4 edges of the red bag from the sides of the container. Twist the top of the bag to seal its contents. Secure the seal with a strong hand tied single or goose-neck knot to prevent any leakage if accidentally inverted. You can also use a zip tie or tape to secure the knot. Ensure that the bag is completely closed.
5. Seal your biohazard medical waste container.
For corrugated boxes, seal the top of the box with 2-inch wide, clear packing tape. For auto-locking medical waste boxes or tubs, engage the top flaps. For reusable container, secure the lid, and engage all closures and locking.
6. Check the medical waste container’s markings.
In Virginia you may have additional state and local regulatory requirements or medical waste regulations. Always follow the best practices of your facility and comply with local, state, and federal laws for medical waste disposal.
Thursday, December 03 2015
What is medical waste? Secure Waste gets this question all the time. Medical waste in Maryland can be defined in many ways. Medical waste is an accumulation of many different waste forms found in the day to day operations of a Maryland Healthcare facility, maybe a doctor’s office, tattoo or maybe a funeral home. Medical, Biohazard, Biomedical and Sharps waste can all fall under the same definition. For more information, review defiant ions below and contact Secure Waste for all your Maryland Medical Waste Removal needs.
Medical waste is all waste materials generated at health care facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, physician's offices, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary hospitals/clinics, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories.
The Medical Waste tracking Act of 1988 defines medical waste as "any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals." This definition includes, but is not limited to:
Types of Medical Waste
The United States Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 defines medical waste as "any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals." Medical waste can be identified by one of four different categories: infectious, hazardous, radioactive, and general.
• Infectious waste describes waste that has the possibility of causing infections to humans. It can include human or animal tissue (blood or other body parts), blood-soaked bandages, discarded surgical gloves, cultures, stocks, or swabs to inoculate cultures. Much of this category, including human or animal tissue, can also be labeled as pathological waste, which requires specific treatment methods. Pathological waste is either known or suspected to contain pathogens.
•Hazardous waste describes waste that has the possibility to affect humans in non-infectious ways, but which meets federal guidelines for hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Some medical waste is hazardous waste. This includes sharps, which are generally defined as objects that can puncture or lacerate the skin, but can include needles and syringes, discarded surgical instruments such as scalpels and lancets, culture dishes and other glassware. Hazardous waste can also include chemicals, both medical and industrial. Some hazardous waste can also be considered infectious waste, depending on its usage and exposure to human or animal tissue prior to discard. Old drugs, including chemotherapy agents, are sometimes hazardous.
•Radioactive waste can be generated from nuclear medicine treatments, cancer therapies and medical equipment that use radioactive isotopes. Pathological waste that is contaminated with radioactive material is treated as radioactive waste rather than infectious waste.
•General waste makes up at least 85% of all waste generated at medical facilities, and is no different from general household or office waste, and includes paper, plastics, liquids and any other materials that do not fit into the previous three categories.
An alternative classification scheme comes from The World Health Organization. The WHO classifies medical waste into:
•Others (often sanitary waste produced at hospitals)
Saturday, November 14 2015
MEDICAL WASTE REDUCTION & RECYCLING TIPS FOR MARYLAND NURSING HOMES
Maryland Nursing homes & home Maryland healthcare industries are in need of recycling and waste management programs due to the medical waste and disposal necessary for a properly run facility in Maryland. Waste reduction starts before it begins, using waste prevention eliminates waste before it is created. Biohazard, Sharps and Red bag regulated waste at nursing homes requires strict regulations that hospitals are aware of on a local, State and National level. Infectious red bag material, which is specially handled and can be a high cost item for Maryland nursing homes, should always be managed as it has been in the past.
Nursing homes need a recycling program for the tenants. The program should recover as many recyclables as possible. In most cases, tenants welcome the opportunity to recycle.
Regulated Maryland Waste Reduction Tips
Follow a few steps in Maryland when you dispose of contaminated materials and sharp objects. By doing so, you can help prevent injury, illness, and pollution. Fortunately, many waste prevention practices save money. Waste reduction, the combination of waste prevention and recycling efforts, makes sense for hospital nursing home staff, residents and the environment.
-Sharps, needles, syringes and other sharp objects should be stored in approved sharps containers with a secure lid. Containers specifically designed for disposing of sharps are readily available for purchase.
-Before discarding a container, be sure to reinforce the lid with heavy-duty tape. Do not put sharp objects in any container you plan to recycle and do not use glass or clear plastic containers
-Make sure that you keep all containers with sharp objects out of the reach of visitors such as children or pets, it is best practice to have a designated area that is secure for all biohazard waste including sharps.
-Before disposing of medical gloves bandages and sheets, they should be secured in red biohazard plastic bags.
Encourage all staff and residents at the nursing home to get involved in recycling and waste management. Not only does it create a healthier environment but it also makes for a cleaner planet.
Sunday, October 25 2015
Biohazard Disposal District Of Columbia
Biohazard – Medical – Sharps Management
Biohazard and medical waste disposal in the District of Columbia – Washington D.C. New rules in the District of Columbia require in 2015 all medical waste transporters to be licensed and permitted by DCRA.
All District of Columbia transporters of biohazard waste and sharps waste disposal must have proper business licensed and vehicles must be inspected by the solid waste department for the District of Columbia before being allowed to transport your biohazard waste or sharps medical waste.
These new DC biohazard waste rules require this of transporters and healthcare providers using a biohazard disposal company. District of Columbia biohazard disposal is safer today more then ever for city residents and the environment in Washington D.C. All healthcare practices should review the permits of your transporter to make sure they are up to date and in compliance with DCRA rules and regulations, for hazardous waste management. If you have questions or need more information, contact Secure Waste for guidance on the proper handling, transportation and final disposal of all your biohazard, medical and sharps waste disposal in Washington D.C.
Friday, September 11 2015
Need to reduce biohazard waste, maybe you need to save money?
Understanding, awareness and training is a primary element of a successful medical waste reduction strategy, and it depends on training employees to view your healthcare waste as not all being Biohazardous. Healthcare facilities can begin by creating a recycle-friendly environment for employees that promotes and rewards proper segregation. Start with easy-to-reach bins next to the medical waste box, that are color-coded by material that also use signage reminding everyone what goes where. Bins and signage will train and remind employees to divert waste that is not biohazardous and set for reuse or other less expensive disposal options.
In many healthcare settings up to 60 percent of waste generated is not biohazard by definition and could be segregated and handled differently. Segregation and recycling can be integrated into standard day to day operations in any office with little effort, contact Secure Waste for assistance with biohazard identification. Once you’ve racked up a few “big wins” don’t keep them to yourself — share them with other healthcare practices. A win at one site for medical waste reduction can motivate many other sites to replicate the best practice and try for their own victory. These actions keep employees personally invested and motivated for reducing your cost with biohazard disposal and is a win for the office and the environment.
There will always be medical waste in healthcare, but a zero waste policy sets a very high bar to reach and is the only way for healthcare practitioners to gain sustainable value from medical waste reductions programs. It’s a long journey with many steps, but the destination is rewarding to your company, employees and the environment in addition can help save money and valuable natural resources.
After initial research and planning, the most important thing is to just get started. You may not have the perfect plan going in, but adjustments can be made at many points. Creating a bold vision and taking the first steps will go a long way in your success. Need help developing a plan contact Secure Waste, not just do we provide medical waste disposal services but consulting for waste reduction is important for us.
Tuesday, July 21 2015
Is your Healthcare facility paying a premium to treat Regulated Medical and Biohazard Waste?
Medical Waste Disposal Costs, Maryland - Virginia - Washington D.C & Surrounding Areas
Through our medical waste minimization programs, we can help you reduce biohazard disposal cost and maximize efficiency without increasing risk.
Medical waste complexity made simple in Maryland – Virginia – Washington D.C.
Is your hospital or healthcare practice in the Washington DC Metro area treating non-infectious waste such as packaging and disposable patient gowns the same way it treats regulated “red bag” waste? In the everyday hustle and bustle of patient care, even the best-trained staff may mis-categorize waste. A good medical waste minimization program can help reduce your total waste costs. We can help you develop and execute such a program and tailor it to your facility’s exact needs.
Our integrated approach, focused on creating sustainable, efficient solutions for healthcare facilities, enables us to rectify such inefficiency.
Our healthcare solutions experts are well-versed in the ever-changing regulations that affect your institution. Together, we can assess your current operations and help you implement best practices for achieving your economic and environmental goals, while safeguarding your employees, the community at large and your reputation.
Put waste in its proper place
So exactly how much does it cost to dispose of Biohazard & Medical Waste?
Are you wondering if you’re being overcharged for your disposal service? Maybe you are considering opening a new practice or adding a location and what the additional cost of medical waste disposal would be. No matter why we are here with the solutions. There many variables involved with the price for disposing of medical waste and can vary greatly from town to town.
Issues that can affect Regulated Biohazard, Sharps & Medical waste disposal costs?
Understanding Your Waste Streams & Difference’s In Handling & Disposal
For the purpose of this article and reducing medical waste disposal cost, it is also important to understand the over-all waste streams found in the healthcare setting.
It is difficult to even think about reducing medical waste disposal costs without first knowing your waste streams. Healthcare produces a diverse set of wastes that require management. An important starting point is to assess what types of waste a typical healthcare facility produces and begin to understand who is responsible for tracking and managing each waste stream. The next stage will involve determining the volumes of each waste generated and the associated costs. It is not strange in healthcare to find that multiple people—or no one—has historically been responsible for tracking a particular waste stream.
-Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) – This waste stream is also called potentially infectious material, red bag waste or biohazardous waste. RMW is regulated state-by-state, but also falls under OSHA’s Blood-borne Pathogen Standard.
-RCRA Hazardous Waste – Hazardous waste is defined and regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is either a “listed” waste or meets the characteristics of a hazardous waste. Individual states may have stricter regulations than the EPA, so management requirements can vary state-to-state.
-Pharmaceutical Waste – Some pharmaceutical waste is considered RCRA hazardous while a large majority may not require handling as hazardous waste but should receive special disposal considerations, including controlled substances. As regulatory scrutiny of pharmaceutical waste increases, it is critical for healthcare organizations to understand the appropriate management and disposal methods.
-Universal Waste – EPA has designated via its Universal Waste Rule that certain hazardous wastes—when sent for recycling, may be managed under a less stringent set of regulations and do not have to be counted toward total hazardous waste volumes that determine generator status.
Exactly how do these affect my medical waste disposal cost? Let's break it down a little more.
Why does my location matter? Location can affect over-all medical waste disposal costs. There are two main reasons, logistics and local regulations. When addressing regulations it is pretty simple. Certain States have regulated medical waste regulations on how long you can store biohazard waste at your facility. Some States even require this waste to be picked up as often as once a month, whether or not your container is full at the time. Now let’s talk logistics, are there other facilities in your area that are using the same service? Volume and route density are the “Key” to affordable and reduced disposal cost.
EXAMPLE-1: If a medical waste disposal company arrives at a medical building where it has many customers, including your office this tends to drive the price down for everyone. Why? Because they can pick-up multiple medical waste boxes at one location in a shorter period of time. Your practice and your neighbors get to enjoy the route density of everyone being in close proximity.
EXAMPLE-2: You are what we would call the lone wolf practice, on top of a mountain, somewhere in a location far, far away. Well, if you are the only practice around and we have to drive 25 miles or more to get to you, the price is going up. We have to factor in time/labor of technician, fuel, vehicle maintenance, return trip and more.
Frequency & Volume:
When considering volume it is important to look at how appropriate your service is in comparison to the needs of your individual practice. If you are getting medical waste containers picked up that are only halfway or less full, you are not being serviced properly and are throwing money away. In terms of frequency, if you are doing 1 box every two-weeks, but could wait to have 2 medical waste boxes picked up once a month. We could negotiate you a better price, the more boxes picked up at one time tends to drive the over-all cost for you and us down. This is just one example a ways we can work with your healthcare facility to customize a waste disposal service plan that is compliant but more affordable for you.
So what should the average cost of medical waste disposal be? Well medical, biohazard disposal waste costs can swing drastically and depend on a lot of variables. With so many options affecting the over-all price. Each variable is a key factor in determining your per-box medical waste cost. Service should be flexible enough to fit your individual needs and calculated appropriately for your size practice, this means big savings for you! It also means pricing can and will definitely vary.
Sunday, June 14 2015
Waste, it is common and is everywhere. Medical waste and hospital or health care waste is at an all time high. Improper waste segregation is a leading cause of higher cost in health care waste management. We all play a roll for working to improve, states like Maryland, Washington DC & Virginia are leaders working to improve efficience and sustainability for Biohazard waste management. Here is a great article on waste in our every day lives and ways to try and improve. if you need help with waste management within a Maryland health care facility, contact Secure Waste today, a leading Maryland Medical waste management company.
It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.
"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."
Chappelle is a solid waste consultant with Engineering Solutions & Design in Kansas City, Kan. Local governments hire his crew to literally sort through their garbage and find out what it's made of. On this day, he's trudging through Lincoln's Bluff Road Landfill.
"In the country you get more peelings," Chappelle explained. "You get more vegetables."
A lot of the waste he finds is food — from homes, restaurants, stores and schools.
"When you're in the city, you get a lot more fast-food containers with half-eaten food in them," Chappelle says. "A lot more pizza boxes."
Food is the largest single source of waste in the U.S. More food ends up in landfills than plastic or paper.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 20 percent of what goes into municipal landfills is food. Food waste tipped the scale at 35 million tons in 2012, the most recent year for which estimates are available.
The enormous amount of wasted food is weighing on our food system.
"Forty percent of all the food in this country never makes it to the table — at a cost of $165 billion to the U.S. economy," says Dan Nickey, associate director of the Iowa Waste Reduction Center, which works with businesses to cut back on how much food goes into the garbage.
There are lots of reasons for food waste. Some crops are never harvested. Some foods are thrown out if they don't meet cosmetic standards. Restaurants often prepare more food than they sell. And grocery stores pull food off the shelf when it starts going stale.
Still, Nickey says, part of the problem is that consumers can afford to waste.
"It's so cheap to buy food [that] we just look at it as a given, that it will always be there — 'I can go buy more tomorrow,' " he says.
It's a big problem, and Nickey tries to be realistic about solving it.
"Zero food waste would be ideal, but that's not reality, OK?" he says. "If you're in your kitchen and a water pipe bursts in your kitchen, you're not going to stop and think, 'How can I use this water in a socially and environmentally responsible manner?' No, you're going to stop and turn the water off. And that's what we need to do first."
To reduce the food heading to landfills, food companies, grocery stores and restaurants will have to take some responsibility. And many are. But many of us — American consumers — are not.
"Forty to 50 percent of food waste comes from consumers, and 50 to 60 percent from businesses," says the EPA's Ashley Zanolli. She helped create a new program to teach consumers to be more efficient in the kitchen. It's called Food: Too Good to Waste. Until it's rolled out nationwide, a handful of cities are trying it out — including Iowa City, Iowa.
That's where Sherri Erkel's family is part of a study measuring how much food people throw out at home.
It's fajita night at the Erkel home, and some half-eaten tortillas, picked over beans — all the scraps — are going into a green bucket on the kitchen counter. Once a week, Erkel pulls out the plastic liner to weigh what they've thrown out.
"We're at 4 pounds of food waste for a couple days," she says. "These aren't watermelon rinds or anything, so that's just food on our plate we didn't eat."
The EPA's Zanolli says until they measure what they're wasting, people often fault others for tossing out food.
"It's their brother-in-law who wastes so much food, or, oh, my gosh, their neighbor down the street," she says of consumer attitudes. "And unlike recycling, where you can create some peer pressure by noticing whether your neighbor has their blue bin down at the end of the driveway, it's a little different with household behaviors."
To put less food in her green bucket, Sherri Erkel is following tips from the EPA.
For starters, she plans her meals for the week and puts them on a calendar. And she uses that menu to make her shopping list. One tip suggests dedicating a shelf in the fridge for food that needs to be eaten before spoiling. It boils down to buying what you need and eating what you buy.
Saving money is part of Erkel's motivation, but so, too, is guilt: 1 in 7 families in the U.S. struggles with hunger.
"Food production is not an issue," Erkel notes. "Like, we produce enough food, but we're throwing away all this food, and a mile away, people don't have enough. So that's kind of the first step, I think."
A step, she says, toward taking personal responsibility not only for what's eaten, but also for what's wasted.
This story is part of a series on food waste from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project focusing on agriculture and food production.
Tuesday, June 02 2015
The University of Maryland Medical System & Maryland Medical Waste
MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
Environmental Principles Statement
“Recognizing that sustaining a healthy environment is essential to maintaining
both personal and public health, the University of Maryland Medical Center
commits to promote healthy patients, staff, visitors and communities locally and
globally by safeguarding the environment.
The University of Maryland Medical Center provides health care to the
community in a safe and healthy manner and fulfills its obligation to protect and
preserve the earth’s resources by seeking innovative ways to conserve, reduce,
reuse and recycle by its own actions and through partnerships with others.
Realization of these principles will be achieved by full participation and the
sustained commitment of all our employees, medical staff and vendors.”
The following comprises Sustainability leadership at UMMC:
Leonard Taylor MBA, MFA, RA – SVP for Operation and Support Services
Denise Choiniere RN, MS
Director of Sustainability and Materials Management
Justin Graves RN, BSN
The UMMC Green Team, led by the Sustainability Coordinator, is a multidisciplinary
team of over 30 active members representing nursing, facilities, food services,
physicians, infection control, safety, operations & maintenance, and environmental
services to name a few.
Annual Environmental Goals
UMMC has committed to the following 3 year Healthier Hospital Initiatives.
Goal: Reduce greenhouse gases by decreasing weather adjusted energy intensity
from metered energy use by 5% from baseline.
Status: On track
Goal: Reduce regulated medical waste (RMW) to either less than 10% of total
waste or less than 3lb per Adjusted Patient Day (APD).
Status: On track to meet early
Goal: Achieve 35% recycling rate compared to total waste.
Status: On track to meet early
Goal: Decrease meat purchasing by 20% of baseline.
Status: On track
Goal: Increase healthy beverage purchases by 20% annually or achieve healthy
beverages purchasing of 80% of total.
Status: On track
Goal: Purchase at least 90% Green Seal or EcoLogo certified cleaning products in
these four categories (carpet, window, all‐purpose and bathroom).
Goal: Eliminate DEHP/PVC from at least (five) product lines.
Goal: Increase expenditures of reprocessed FDA‐eligible single use devices by
Status: On Track to meet early
Environmentally Preferable Products and Services
UMMC seeks to provide the best quality healthcare available while maintain its
commitment to the environment. UMMC provides a safe and healthy working
environment by eliminating harmful chemicals, solvents, cleaners, paints and
coverings and other harmful building materials whenever safer alternatives exist.
University of Maryland Medical Center is able to achieve these standards by
1. Integrative Pest Management Policy (IPM)
2. Green Cleaning Policy
3. Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy
4. Sustainability Policy
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
The following is an excerpt from UMMC’s Sustainability Policy:
“Value Analysis Committees will incorporate Environmentally Preferable
Purchasing (EPP) strategies when making new purchases and or renewing current
contracts. EPP products and services are those that:
1. Reduce waste, such as through the reduction of material use, reusable
or recyclable products and packaging; recycled‐content,
remanufactured, or more durable products and packaging; reduced use
of disposable, or other methods.
2. Are manufactured using reduced energy consumption or with the
utilization of sustainable or renewable energy.
3. Reduce water use or reduce the creation of contaminated or polluted
4. Support healthy food systems by sourcing local, seasonal, nutritious and
sustainably produced food.
5. Minimize chemical use and/or release little to no toxic by‐products
during their life cycle.
6. Total cost of ownership will be considered will all new purchases and
“Value Analysis Committees will integrate sustainability criteria into our
relationships with our suppliers to improve both our sustainability and
environmental performance by:
1. Indicating a preference for and selecting products that cause the least
environmental harm (i.e. during manufacturing, transport, use and
2. Partnering with suppliers who demonstrate a commitment to
environmental sustainability in their business practices.
3. Collaborating with distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers in
designing/refining products to minimize environmental impact while
maintaining quality and cost effectiveness in the following areas:
i. Product make up/ingredients
ii. Packaging reduction
iii. Purchasing recycled products with high post‐consumer content,
recyclable, and reusable products
iv. Conserving energy and water use in the manufacturing and
v. Enhancing awareness among staff, members, and the public about
chemical exposure and resource conservation, and the linkage to
vi. Purchase products from manufacturers that support child labor laws
and monitor for compliance.”
Environmental Restoration or Community Environmental Projects
UMMC has partnered with the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) to bring
Baltimore City middle school students to the weekly UM Farmers Market. This
partnership educates students about healthy and seasonal eating by offering
cooking demonstrations, education, recipes, and food vouchers to purchase fresh
fruits and vegetables. Additionally this program supports local farmers and local
business keeping money within the local economy.
Solid Waste Reduction and Reuse
Through various source reduction efforts, UMMC has reduced is Total Waste per
adjusted patient day (APD):
2011: 36.2 lbs/APD
2012: 34.9 lbs/APD (~3.7% reduction and $103,000 savings)
Single Stream (bottles, paper, glass, aluminum): 403 tons
Confidential Paper: 117 tons
Construction & Demolition Debris: 768 tons
Kitchen Grease: 9 tons
Single‐Use Device Reprocessing: 88 tons
Reusable Sharps containers: 116 tons
Batteries & Electronics: 33 tons
Estimated 2012 savings: $67,000 in waste disposal fees
Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) Reduction
UMMC is committed to reducing its regulated medical waste which has
significant environmental and economic impacts on the community.
Annual RMW (as a percentage of total waste)
2010 – 35%
2011 – 22% ($365,000 savings)
2012 – 19% ($106,000 savings)
In efforts to meet its 5% reduction, UMMC has implemented many energy
savings strategies with significant return on investments.
Lighting upgrades including sensors, timers, and LED bulb conversions.
o Estimated annual savings of over $80,000
Installed highly efficient heat recovery chillers
o Estimated annual savings of $480,000 (savings in steam, water, and
Installed signs encouraging use of revolving doors to saving on
Revised mechanical and electrical design guidelines and standards to include
energy conserving products and methodologies for all construction projects.
The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) has partnered with
BITHENERGY and Constellation to build and develop a 3.66‐megawatt gridconnected
solar generation project in Somerset County, MD. This project went
online December 2012.
The electricity generated by the solar panels is purchased by UMMS under a 20‐
year power purchase agreement with BITHENERGY. As part of its purchase
agreement, UMMS receives Solar Renewable Energy Credits that help satisfy
Maryland's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard requirements, and in the
process serves as a role model for the adoption of clean, sustainable, renewable
By nature of being located in the heart of Baltimore City, UMMC encourages the
use of public transportation for its employees by offering:
UMMC offers a discounted MTA monthly bus pass for all employees
Convenient & secured bike parking offered (120 spaces)
Priority parking in Medical Center Garage for Fuel Efficient Vehicles (FEV) (34
Electric car charging station in Medical Center garage. (2 car capacity)
Carpool matching program shared with UMB.
Access to free UMB Shuttle with Hospital ID
Low flow toilets and water faucets are standard installation in UMMC’s newly
built Critical Care tower. They use about 30% less water than the standard
fixtures. Given the large amount of water used in a hospital the use of low‐flow
fixtures will save 418,000 gallons of water per year.
Stormwater Management and Site Design
The rain that falls on helipad and adjoining roof areas is collected filtered and
pumped up to a previously abandoned and now refurbished fire water tank. The
tank can hold up to 30,000 gallons of rainwater.
The captured rainwater is used as cooling tower make up water and to water the
interior landscaping. By capturing the rainwater, the hospital is reducing the
amount of city water it purchases and the amount of stormwater it introduces
into the aging Baltimore stormwater sewer system and ultimately into the bay.
Additionally use of rainwater eliminates the need for chemicals to treat municipal
water normally used for make up water in the cooling towers.
A new LEED Silver designed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will begin
construction this fall to be completed in late 2015.
In 2012, some services began moving into the new Shock Trauma Critical Care
Tower, which is expected to be Baltimore’s first LEED designed and built hospital.
Every detail in all 135,000 square feet of this project was approached with
sustainability in mind. It has been designed and built to LEED Gold Standards.
Choosing the right materials in the project was extremely important, such as
natural rubber flooring that doesn’t require chemical cleaning or stripping,
thereby improving indoor air quality. The exterior walls are constructed of
terracotta, a brick‐like material, glass and aluminum. The terracotta is relatively
dense and acts as a thermal sink. This, in combination with thermal insulation,
retards the rate at which outside temperatures are felt inside the building.
Compared to other curtain‐wall systems, the building will use less heating and
less cooling. Many traditional paints and other building materials contain
“volatile organic compounds,” or VOCs, which are released into the air and can
cause adverse health effects. UMMC chose materials—including caulk, glue,
adhesives, paints and carpet—that contain few to no VOCs, which improves
indoor air quality. At least 20% of the building materials used was locally
sourced, including stone, concrete, framing and ceiling tiles. At least 90% of all
construction debris was recycled. Fully 100% of the wood used in building
components—sub‐flooring, wall frames, cabinets and more—is certified as being
in accordance with Forest Stewardship Council’s Principles and Criteria. The
criteria address issues such as indigenous rights, labor rights, and environmental
impacts surrounding forest management. Many other building materials are
made from recycled substances.
With energy being the greatest facility cost, much attention was paid to the
energy infrastructure in this building. The new lobby and the emergency room
and shock trauma waiting areas are located to take advantage of daylight.
Natural light is known to be healthful and calming, and reduces the reliance on
electricity. The tower’s operating rooms are lit with LED lights, which have an
extremely long lifespan and require only a small amount of electricity.
Additionally, LEDs do not give off heat, so less energy is required to cool the
rooms. The ORs all have occupancy sensors which automate lighting and heating
and cooling usage. By programing “set‐backs”, turning the lights and heating
cooling down when not in use, UMMC will be able to save a substantial amount
in energy. In as many patient rooms as possible, UMMC has installed large
windows to increase the use of natural light. Not only does this decrease energy
usage, studies show that patients who have views of nature from their windows
require less pain medication and are able to return home more quickly. Energyefficient
lighting and lighting controls are used throughout the tower.
Occupancy sensors were installed in all office, conference, and meeting rooms,
potentially saving up to 30% in energy cost. The building is capped by a roof
painted silver to reflect the heat, saving an estimated 2,200 kWh in cooling
The design also includes many water conservation strategies. All plumbing
fixtures in the new building are low‐flow, using about 35% less water than
standard fixtures. Given the large amount of water used in a hospital, the use of
low‐flow fixtures will save 463,000 gallons per year. The roof will also collect up
to 30,000 gallons of rainwater a year to be used in the building’s cooling towers,
negating the use of chemicals traditionally used to treat municipal water. The
captured rainwater will also be used for watering indoor plants..
Services are moving into the new tower addition in stages since last summer,
with full completion of the building and the adjoining renovated spaces by the
end of 2013.
Practice Green Health: www.practicegreenhealth.org
UMMC is a member of Practice Green Health, a nonprofit membership
organization founded on the principles of positive environmental stewardship
and best practices by organizations in the healthcare community.
o Partner for Change Award recipient
o Making Medicine Mercury Free
o Partner for Change Award with Distinction recipient
2011, 2012, & 2013
Maryland Hospitals for a Healthier Environment (MDH2E): www.mdh2e.org
o Trailblazer Award Recipient
2009 – Farmers Market
2010 – Implementation of Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste
2011 – Energy Conservation
2012 – New Mom’s Pilot to Reduce Newborn exposure to
Maryland Pesticide Network: http://www.mdpestnet.org/
o IPM in Health Care
Sunday, May 31 2015
Maryland Medical Waste And Soiled Linen Cleaning and Disposal.
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Lessons in Linen
When it comes to protecting hospital personnel from the transmission of infectious diseases, the patient-care delivery worker is often the person thought of first; however, infection control practitioners must be aware that the handling of healthcare facility laundry and linen poses risks to another population of hospital worker. Laundry personnel are responsible for processing hundreds of thousands of pounds of contaminated reusable linens annually and can be at risk for injury if precautions are not taken.
Infection control consultant Raymond Otero, PhD, formerly director of academic affairs for the National Association of Institutional Linen Management (NAILM)1 says infection control manuals should be written to allay fears regarding the processing of contaminated linen, and adds that if common sense procedures -- dictated by Standard Precautions (SP) -- are followed, the chance of disease transmission is "almost nonexistent." He acknowledges there have been several documented cases of contaminated linens serving as the cause of infections such as scabies, salmonella and smallpox among laundry handlers, and these can be attributed to breaks in aseptic technique.
While there is ongoing debate as to how big a role linens play in the transmission of disease, this fomite has been indicted in a number of recent studies.
In a study by Borg and Portelli2 published in 1999 titled, "Hospital laundry workers -- an at-risk group for hepatitis A?" researchers related the experiences of 22 laundry personnel at St. Luke's Hospital in Malta, who were tested for seropositivity to hepatitis A. They were matched with 37 nursing aides working in pediatric and infectious disease wards, who were used as controls. IgG antibodies were found in 54.5 percent of laundry workers and 13.5 percent of nursing aides [odds ratio (OR) = 7.68; 95 percent; confidence interval (CI) = 1.87-33.83]. Furthermore, laundry personnel consistently handling dirty linen prior to washing showed an OR of 16.50 (CI = 1.19-825.57) as compared with colleagues handling only clean items. The researchers say these results suggest that the increased exposure of hospital laundry workers to potentially infected linen can constitute a risk of occupational hepatitis A for this group of employees.
In another published study, researchers Standard, Hutcheson and Schaffner3 examined the nosocomial transmission of Salmonella gastroenteritis to laundry workers in a nursing home in a rural Tennessee county. Residents and staff of the nursing home were interviewed and cultures of stool samples examined for enteric pathogens. Stool cultures from 32 residents and eight employees were positive for Salmonella hadar. Infection among the residents was foodborne, but infection among employees likely represented secondary transmission, as none of the employees ate food prepared in the kitchen and their onset of symptoms occurred seven to 10 days after that of ill residents. Three laundry personnel who had no contact with residents were infected. Most of the ill residents (81 percent) were incontinent, which led to an increase in both the degree of fecal soiling and the amount of soiled linen received by the laundry during the outbreak. Laundry personnel regularly ate in the laundry room, did not wear protective clothing and did not wear gloves consistently while handling soiled laundry. The researchers concluded that linen soiled with feces was the source of nosocomial S.Hadar infection in laundry workers and underscore the importance of using appropriate precautions when handling linen.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Guidelines for Laundry in Healthcare Facilities say that, "Although soiled linen has been identified as a source of large numbers of pathogenic microorganisms, the risk of actual disease transmission appears negligible. Rather than rigid rules and regulation, hygienic and common-sense storage and processing of clean and soiled linen are recommended."4-5
Contaminated laundry, as defined by the Blood borne Pathogen Standard issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is considered to be "laundry which has been soiled with blood or other potentially infectious material or may contain sharps."
OSHA says healthcare facility laundry poses exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials through contaminated linen that was improperly labeled or handled. It suggests the following solutions to healthcare workers and laundry personnel to avoid occupational exposure:
Otero says that all healthcare workers and laundry personnel must follow SP when handling contaminated linen, including donning personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves and gowns that provide adequate barrier properties. Hand washing facilities, including a hygienic sink, soap dispensers and paper towels, must be provided in the soiled-linen processing facility.
The CDC offers the following control measures for proper laundry handling:
The microbicidal action of the normal laundering process is affected by several physical and chemical factors.8-10 although dilution is not a microbicidal mechanism; it is responsible for the removal of significant quantities of microorganisms. Soaps or detergents loosen soil and also have some microbicide properties. Hot water provides an effective means of destroying microorganisms, and a temperature of at least 71 degrees C (160 F) for a minimum of 25 minutes is commonly recommended for hot-water washing. Chlorine bleach provides an extra margin of safety. A total available chlorine residual of 50-150ppm is usually achieved during the bleach cycle. The last action performed during the washing process is the addition of a mild acid to neutralize any alkalinity in the water supply, soap, or detergent. The rapid shift in Ph from approximately 12 to 5 also may tend to inactivate some microorganisms.
Recent studies have shown that a satisfactory reduction of microbial contamination can be achieved at lower water temperatures of 22-50 degrees C when the cycling of the washer, the wash formula, and the amount of chlorine bleach are carefully monitored and controlled. Instead of the microbicidal action of hot water, low-temperature laundry cycles rely heavily on the presence of bleach to reduce levels of microbial contamination.
Regardless of whether hot or cold water is used for washing, the temperatures reached in drying and especially during ironing provide additional significant microbicidal action.
Otero says airborne transmission notwithstanding, the real threat posed by contaminated linen is avoiding injuries from sharps like needles, razor blades and surgical instruments being swept up in patient-room or surgical linens. Otero says that proper linen handling can help eliminate these kinds of injuries, and that healthcare workers must be in serviced on how to look for sharps buried in linen and how to remove and contain them.
A safety and health program that includes procedures for appropriate disposal and handling of sharps and follows required practices is outlined in the Blood borne Pathogens Standard.
OSHA makes the following recommendations regarding sharps handling:
1. Immediately or as soon as feasible, contaminated sharps need to be discarded in appropriate containers.
2. Needle containers need to be available, and in close proximity to areas where needles may be found, including laundries.
3. Appropriate containers must be closable, puncture-resistant and leak-proof on sides and bottom; accessible, maintained upright and not allowed to overfill; labeled with the biohazard symbol; labeled in fluorescent orange or orange-red, with lettering and symbols in a contrasting color; red bags or containers may be substituted for labels.
One more set of related guidelines offered to healthcare laundry services can be found within the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI)'s Processing of Reusable Surgical Textiles for Use in Healthcare Facilities (ANSI/AAMI ST65), a document that discusses clean, non-sterile, reusable surgical textiles and sterile, reusable surgical textile packs. ST 65 is intended to help materials managers, laundry managers, central service managers and other healthcare professionals implement effective quality-assurance systems for the processing of reusable surgical textiles. The guidelines include instruction for proper on-site or off-site handling, processing and preparation of reusable textiles in healthcare facilities as well as design criteria for work areas, staff qualifications and training, and procedures for receiving and handling soiled textiles, transporting both clean and soiled textiles, and installing, caring for and maintaining laundry equipment. ST 65 also explains reprocessing considerations, quality control practices and regulatory considerations including regulations from the Environmental
By Kelly M. Pyrek
Friday, May 29 2015
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Dispose of your medical sharps by using your own containers or special "sharps" containers.
Place used sharps into a rigid container, such as a plastic bottle or a milk carton. Then, tape the container securely shut, and tuck it into the middle of your household trash.
The most ideal method is to keep sharps out of the regular waste stream altogether, using special disposal programs such as this:
Holy Cross Hospital Syringe Disposal Program