To protect workers and people at risk employers need to assess risks from exposure to healthcare and other hazardous waste created or handled in the course of their business activity. Having identified these risks employers should aim to eliminate or prevent them. Where that is not possible they must develop and introduce control measures, systems and procedures that adequately control the risks.
In their risk assessments they will need to take particular account of the risks to new and expectant mothers, young persons and any other workers known to be at risk. This will include those with health issues such asthma, deficiencies in their immune system and skin ailments. Their underlying conditions could be further affected by exposure.
Employers also need to consider whether health surveillance and immunisation is appropriate for any of their staff who handle healthcare waste.
The procedures required for the safe management and disposal of healthcare waste will also involve environmental and waste legislation and legislation relating to the transport of hazardous substances. Everyone who manages waste or has a responsibility for the management of waste has a statutory duty of care. They are required to prevent the escape of waste and to take every reasonable measure to ensure that the waste is dealt with appropriately at all stages from its point of production to its final disposal. A key element of the duty of care is the requirement to keep written records of the types and quantities of waste generated and sent for disposal. In some cases there are requirement for waste management licences, and pollution prevention and control permits for the storage, treatment and disposal of certain types of waste.