The Key to Proper Disposal & Transportation of Medical, Pharmaceutical, & Biohazardous Waste
The surprising partnership of medical institutions and logistics providers
Until about mid-20thCentury, a substantial incinerator was second only to the ER in itsimportance to hospitals and medical facilities. The amount of medical waste generated by just a mid-sized campus could tally well into tens of thousands of pounds annually. From biohazardous material to linens and pharmaceuticals, human waste to radioactive materials and metal items such as needles and surgical materials (known in the trade as “sharps”), hospitals burned and eliminated it all onsite until state and Federal environmental laws outlawed the practice by the 1970s.
As a result, an enormous need for transport of these dangerous materials to approved remediation sites arose. Logistics and transport companies began specializing in the safe containment and shipping of medical waste, providing not only operational and tactical benefits for healthcare providers, but also reduced their exposure to issues of compliance in the disposal process.
Federal laws, as regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), are complex and numerous, and errors or omissions of compliance can result in substantial fines. For hospitals, medical schools and pharmaceutical concerns more interested in advancing their healthcare initiatives, it became an educated matter of efficiency, cost and a transfer of liability to logistics partners that resulted in a whole new industry—the transport and disposal of medical waste.
These very specialized service providers, such as Dupré Logistics, help hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies and medical and dental offices meet their regulatory and environmental obligations regarding proper medical, pharmaceutical and biohazard waste disposal. Advanced services include the provision of educational and training programs by the transport firm for healthcare staffs on matters of safety, efficiency and regulatory compliance.
According to Markets and Markets Research, medical waste management will continue to increase as hospitals process more patients. The industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4 percent through 2018, becoming a $4 billion industry.
Given the potentially dangerous nature of these materials and the vital requirements of its safe disposal, it’s imperative that healthcare enterprises select a dedicated shipping partner with a substantial reputation in the realm and a sterling track record of secure compliance.