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Waste management is a very important topic today. It has a big impact on the
public and the enviroment. Waste can take many forms. It may be solid, liquid, gas, or in
some cases radioactive. Some are hazardous to health while some can be quite hazardous,
especially if not handled properly. So there is urgent need to handle the waste
management with outmost care. It is a matter of major concern for many people and
companies. Effective management of waste is not only a social responsibility but also a
moral one.
There are various ways of dealing with the waste materials such as landfills,
recycling, incineration and waste reduction. What is more important is that the absence of
proper waste management, lack of awareness about the health hazards from wastes,
insufficient financial and human resources, and poor control of waste disposal are the
most critical problems connected with healthcare waste. If the waste management is not
properly handled it affects not only the waste operators but the environment and the
general public.
Our factory in Semenyih has opted for incineration method. It is quite a popular
technique. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that our waste disposal factory comply
with the standard procedures prescribed in the waste handling and management manual.
On 5th of August, I made a surprise visit to our waste disposal factory in Semenyih to see
whether our waste operators there were doing their jobs correctly. I also needed to see the
safety procedures are carried out.I was shocked to see that waste plant operators were not
following the safety and standard procedures at the workplace. Apart from lack of
awareness among the waste operators, they seem to ignore the standard procedures.
Waste handling and disposal is often taken lightly. Besides that , I also noticed that the
waste operators at our factory are not provided with proper protective equipment. I also
found out the operators were not given immunization or the proper training needed to
handle waste .
It is essential to note that adequate knowledge about the health hazard of factory
waste, proper technique and methods of handling the waste, and practice of safety

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measures can go a long way toward the safe disposal of hazardous factory waste and
protect the community from various adverse effects of the hazardous waste. With this
background knowledge, I would like to inform you about what I saw at our waste
disposal plant in Semenyih and suggest ways to improve our health care waste
Among the problems that I noticed at the Semenyih waste disposal plant were:
1. The inadequate use of proper Personal Protective Equipment .
When I was at the site I found that the waste operators were not using adequate
protective equipment when handling waste products. I noticed that the waste operators
were not wearing the proper gloves when handling health care waste. They should be
wearing puncture-resistant gloves as these gloves will protect them when handling sharps
containers or bags with unknown contents. They should also heat-resistant gloves when
operating the incinerator.
Another disturbing sight was that the operators were not wearing helmets during the
incineration process. When asked why they are not wearing the helmets. They replied that
they do wear them at times but not always. This is sheer ignorance on their part. They
should know that helmets protect their head from injury and should be worn at all times
during the incineration process. As you can see that our waste disposal operators were not
following the safety regulations stipulated and they were taking these things lightly.
It is obvious that the wearing of goggles can protect the eyes from accidental splashes or
other injury. But it is astonishing to see that the waste operators were seen not using their
goggles while doing their jobs. They are exposing their eyes to unwanted dangers. I also
saw that the waste operators were not wearing the safety boots or leathered shoes. They
were wearing ordinary shoes which does not provide the needed protection to the feet
from injury by sharps or heavy items that may accidentally fall.
2. The segregation of waste materials were not done properly.
For your information, our factory are handling and managing many types ot such as:

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Infectious waste: This waste when comes in contact with human blood or bodily
fluid has the ability to spread disease. They include cotton, dressings, gloves and

Highly infectious waste: This waste consist of specimen containers, blood

containers, anatomical waste and placentas.

Sharps waste: This waste has the potential to puncture the skin and cause injury.
This includes needles, scalpels, blades and broken glasses

Non-infectious waste: This is general waste that presents no risk to persons that
may handle it.

Chemical and pharmaceutical waste: This waste includes drugs and related waste.

Radioactive waste

All these wastes must be treated accordingly otherwise it can cause a lot of problem
for us to handle. When I inspected the management of waste disposal, I also found the
proper health care waste guidelines were not followed. During the segregation
process, the waste materials were not segregated properly into their containers
according to the type of the waste materials. In one container I found the mixture of
plastic bottles with broken glasses. Therefore I see there is an immmediate need to
address these problem.
3. Safety boxes in the storage area not covered properly.
The storage area space should be provided with safety boxes while awaiting
incineration. The area should be secured to prevent unauthorized access and the waste
should be covered to keep the safety boxes dry. I found that the waste materials in storage
were not equipped with proper safety boxes and were not covered properly. I can see that
the workers were in no position to handle should there be any kind of mishaps at the site.
4. Security problems at the site.
I also found the security system at the site is not sufficient and could be enhanced.
The site area especially the storage were not properly fenced and there was no 24 hour
survelliance. Unauthorised persons can easily access our waste disposal area and this can
pose a danger to them. There were also not enough guards at the site. The guards were on

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duty only at night. There were also no proper signboard to indicate the site is out of
bound for unauthorise personel.
5. Inadequate fire safety equipment at the site
Another problem that I came across during the visit was that there were
inadequate fire safety equipment at our waste disposal factory. It is alarming to see that
there were insufficient safety equipment especially at the incinerator site. Some of the
fire extinguishers had expired date on them. They were not replaced. There were no sand
buckets. I see that proper fire safety equipment should be provided at the incinerator site.
The types of safety equipment recommended include standard fire extinguishers, sand
buckets, and water. I also see the need for the waste operators to be trained in using the
fire extinguishers. The waste operator should read and understand the procedures on the
fire extinguisher and use them in the event of a fire outbreak . Flammable material should
be safely stored away from the incinerator. A protective cover should be present at the
spigot (lower part of chimney) to protect the operator from burns from the high heat
generated at this point. Operators should secure the fire chamber door and waste loading
door so they do not accidentally open and allow the fire to spew out.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Due to lack of proper and complete knowledge about waste management impacts
practices of appropriate waste disposal. I observed that the waste operators at our waste
plant seem to have very little knowledge and attitude regarding the importance of proper
waste management. Therefore, there is need for a regular training of waste management
staff and a proper monitoring system should be in place. I find that is important that we
should give top prirority to this aspect and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of
waste operatos workers and the community. By taking these measures we will be able to
reduced the risk of accidental injury. As an Occupational Health Manager, I feel that we
should have a comprehensive health care waste management policies that include
provision for the continuous monitoring of our workers health and their safety. We need
ensure that correct handling, treatment, storage, and disposal procedures are being
followed.Therefore I would like to make the following recommendations:

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1. Proper training of our workers at the waste disposal site.

It should be made compulsory for our waste disposal facility to get their
healthcare personnel trained from accredited training centers. These training sessions
should not become merely a one-time activity but should be a continuous process.
Training in health and safety procedures so that the waste disposal workers know and
understand the potential risks associated with health-care waste, the value of
immunization against viral hepatitis B, and the importance of consistent use of personal
protection equipment.
2. Strict implementation of waste management rules.
The waste disposal workers should comply or made to comply with proper rules
and regulations of waste management . Punitive actions should be taken against those
who break the rules. They should be made aware that the job they are doing involve high
risk and therefore they should follow all the rules and regulation in order to avoid any
Health Programme.
We also need to put up an effective occupational health programme that includes
workers protection, immunization and medical care. This is to show we are concern
about the safety and the welfare of our employees.

Workers protection

The production, segregation, transportation, treatment, and disposal of waste involve

the handling of highly dangerous materials. Therefore, protection against personal
injury is most crucial for all workers who are at risk. The individuals responsible for
management of waste should ensure that all risks are identified and that appropriate
protection from those risks are provided. There is a need to design protection
measures to prevent exposure to dangerous materials or other risks, or at least to keep
exposure within safe limits.

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Protective clothing

The type of protective clothing used actually depend on the danger associated with
the health-care waste, and since our factory deals with high risk waste materials we,

should equip our workers with the following standard protection


Safety goggles
Respirators/Face masks
Heavy duty gloves
Industrial boots

Industrial boots and are particularly important for waste disposal workers. The thick
soles of the boots offer protection in the storage area, as a precaution from spilled
sharp items. Thus, it is essential proper protective clothing should be worn by all our
waste disposal operators to protect against any unforeseen circumstances. Therefore I
would like to suggest here that our company provide the protective clothing. (see
Attachment 1)


Viral hepatitis B infections have been reported among health-care personnel and
waste handlers, and immunization against the disease is therefore recommended.
Tetanus immunization is also recommended for all personnel handling waste.
4. Basic personal hygiene
It is essential that our workers at the waste disposal factory are given the basic
personal hygiene courses. This course is

is important for reducing the risks from

handling health-care waste, and convenient washing facilities (with warm water and
soap) should be available for personnel involved in the task. This is very important at
storage and incineration facilities.

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5. Management practices
Some of the management practices recommended are as follows:

Waste segregation: careful separation of different types of waste into different

and distinct containers or bags denes the risk linked to each waste package.
Appropriate packaging: prevents spillage of waste and protects workers from

contact with waste.

Waste identifcation (through distinct packaging and labelling): allows for easy

recognition of the class of waste and of its source.

Appropriate waste storage: limits the access to authorized individuals only,
protects against infestation by insects and rodents, and prevents contamination of

surrounding areas.
Appropriate transportation: reduces risks of workers being exposed to waste.
Special precautions for clearing up spillages of potentially hazardous substances

Therefore , there is an urgent need to take all the necessary steps related to proper waste
disposal. Figure 2 provides for a detailed description of the key steps involved in the
management of Health Care Wast from the point of generation up to disposal. Key Steps
in Health Care Waste Management (See Attachment 2)
6. Response to injury and exposure
A programme of response should be established that prescribes the actions to be taken
in the event of injury or exposure to a hazardous substance. All staff who handle healthcare waste should be trained to deal with injuries and exposures. The programme should
include the following elements: Health and safety practices for health-care personnel and
waste workers

Immediate first-aid measures, such as cleansing of wounds and skin, and

irrigation (splashing) of eyes with clean water;

an immediate report of the incident to a designated responsible person;

7. Health Care Inspector

We should also consider stationing an experience health-care inspector at the site
to supervise and ensure the safe waste management procedures are followed strictly and
avoid any potential hazards.

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8.. Installing proper fire equipment

We should make sure the essential fire equipment like fire extinguishers and water
buckets are adequately installed at our factory. Our waste operators must be trained to use
them properly during a fire outbreak.
9. Employing fire guards
Another safety measure that I would recommend is to employ fireguards. . They
are usually employed in tall office buildings, at public assemblies such as stadiums and
theaters and at hotels and construction sites. Since our waste disposal factory is handling
waste items that can easily catch fire, it is only logical that we employ fire guards.
Basically, fireguards are responsible for making sure that all fire codes and procedures
are followed. They have the knowledge of basic fire prevention and safety. Fireguards
also know how fire suppression systems and extinguishers work and to determine they
are in good working condition.
10. Security
Security measure need to be taken to prevent accidental or unauthorized entry into the
waste disposal site especially where hazardous waste is treated, stored, and disposed. I
would recommend that our factory at Semenyih must install the following security

There must be 24-hour surveillance system at the site that continuously monitors
and controls the entry into the waste storage and disposal facility. This can done
by installing CCTV and more employing guards.

There is a need to erect a hinger wall of fence that completely surrounds the waste
disposal area and serves as a means to control the entry at all times through gates
or entrances.

Danger signs like Unauthorized Personnel Keep Out should be put up at each
entrance to the waste disposal area.

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I am fully aware that to carry out the above recommendations will involve hugh financial
cost but it is worth to note the recommendations will help us to avoid unnecessary legal
actions should there be a mishap at our waste disposal factory involving our workers. Not
only that the enviroment and the public in general will affected. They will blame us for
taking the necessary measures to guarantee their safety. We will suffer bigger losses. I
hope the above recommedations will get due attention from you.

(2574 words)


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Figure 1: Personal Protective Equipment for Incinerator Operators



Heavy Duty Gloves


Source: HEALTH CARE WASTE MANAGEMENT: Incinerator Operator
Manual January 2009

Figure 2: Steps in Health Care Waste Management

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Segregation: The waste is sorted by category

into various containers according to type at the
source it is produced.

Containment: Various containers are used for

managing sharps including sharps containers,
needle cutters, and safety boxes.

Handling and storage: Waste is collected

at its point of generation and transported to a
secure storage area prior to disposal.

Transport: Waste is transported from

storage to the disposal site (which may be at
the facility or offsite). Wheelbarrows,
trucks, trolleys, tractors etc., may be used

Treatment and destruction: Waste treated and

destructed to be made as harmless as possible
before final disposal. This often includes

Disposal: The waste is discarded.

Recommended disposal methods include
burying, protected ash pit, municipal land
fill, protected sharps pits, or barrels

Source: HEALTH CARE WASTE MANAGEMENT: Incinerator Operator Manual January 2009


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