Unless proper precautions are taken during the routine handling of bags of solid waste while removing them from waste receptacles, staff may unknowingly be exposed to blood borne pathogens and hazardous chemicals. Though prohibited by regulations, potentially hazardous and infectious wastes periodically find their way into solid waste disposal containers. These wastes may be in the form of contaminated sharps, either needles or broken glass, or liquid chemicals.
To reduce the possibility of exposure to these potential health concerns, the following guidelines should be followed when handling plastic bags of waste:
- Never allow the bag to rub up against your body. Sharps could penetrate the bag and cause a cut or puncture wound.
- Never place your hand under a bag to lift it onto the cart or into the dumpster. This could expose you to sharps that are in the bottom of the bag or chemicals that might leak from the bag.
- If needles are observed protruding from the bag, carefully place the bag back into the receptacle and call Dispatch (6-5509).
- If a strong chemical odor is detected, seal the bag if you can do so without inhaling the fumes and call Dispatch.
- If chemicals are leaking from the bag, attempt to double bag the waste and call Dispatch.
If you have questions regarding Solid Waste handling, contact the Director of Environmental Management.