The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on how businesses and industries operate. While most medical facilities are deemed essential service providers, many employees may have transitioned to working from home or are working adjusted hours.
Now would be a good time for your facility’s staff to both renew certifications that are nearing expiration and to take another look at how your business maintains its compliance standards on things like training and other waste-related tasks.
Is Your Staff Compliant?
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires all hazardous waste generating facility personnel be certified to perform their duties in a way that ensures compliance with hazardous waste regulations applicable to their area including those set out by:
- The federal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM)
- The Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management (TDEC)
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which operates Alabama’s job safety and health program. Tennessee has an OSHA-approved state plan (TOSHA).
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
In addition, staff must uphold the privacy and security rules that are enforced by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service Office for Civil Rights.
The Need for Compliance Training
Employee training is one of the most frequently cited compliance violations, but once you have a clear understanding of training requirements, it’s also one of the easiest to avoid. TriHaz Solutions’ customized online training helps your staff and facility avoid fines while keeping employees, patients, and clients safe.
No matter what their size or the number of employees they have, all medical offices, clinics, and other facilities that produce regulated medical waste (RMW) such as blood, blood-contaminated items, and other potentially infectious materials, must ensure their staff is properly trained and certified.
The list of compliance requirements is long. Some of the most important include bloodborne pathogens (BBP) training, HAZCOM or hazardous communication and chemical safety training, training in the proper use of personal protective equipment or PPE, and an OSHA course called “Waste Handling and Classification Regulations” which offers instruction in federal and state guidelines for safe and compliant medical waste handling procedures.
Initial and annual training typically includes, among other things:
- Refresher coursework such as disposal options, container requirements, record keeping, and more.
- Continuing education on hazardous waste transportation, including how to select a waste management company, and DOT requirements.
- Reviewing updates to legal requirements such as liability and due diligence.
As different states have different requirements for ongoing certification, it’s important to work with a full-service waste collection, treatment, and disposal service that stays up-to-date on state and federal regulatory requirements and offers training that keeps your staff and facility safe and compliant.
Who Needs Training and Certification?
All employees (including those who are part-time and/or temporary) with occupational exposure must receive initial and annual compliance training. With civil penalties running as high as $37,500 per violation, per day, employee training is not only compulsory, it’s essential to your facility’s survival.
So, who needs compliance training? It’s mandatory for anyone who performs hazardous waste-related tasks including but not limited to:
- Identifying and characterizing wastes
- Arranging and/or scheduling waste shipments
- Record keeping and maintaining inventory logs
- Loading or transporting hazardous waste
- Managing waste containers
How much training an employee must have depends on their specific job duties.
Medical waste requires proper management to ensure safety of the general population, animals, and the environment. Compliance with local, state, and federal regulations are an important part of maintaining that safety. Comprehensive online courses provide uniform training and assistance and ensure your facility is meeting all training requirements.