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The Royal Veterinary College

Procedure for the Disposal of Clinical Waste
This document describes the procedure to be followed when any Department at the Royal
Veterinary College wishes to dispose of Clinical Waste.
The document also gives some guidance on the safe handling and storage of Clinical
Waste. Departments must carry out the necessary risk assessments, etc., required by the
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, as Clinical Waste falls
within the scope of these regulations.

The Law
The Environmental Protection Act imposes a duty of care for waste management which
means that waste producers, and all those along the waste chain, have a duty, under the
Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991, to prevent anyone from
dealing with their waste illegally; to prevent the escape of waste; to ensure waste is only
transferred to an authorised person; and to ensure an accurate description of waste is
provided when the waste is transferred and a transfer note is completed.
Under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, waste may only be transported by
a registered waste carrier. In order to comply with the "duty of care", waste producers
should check the carrier's certificate of registration before handing over the waste.

Definition of Clinical Waste
Clinical Waste is defined in the Controlled Waste Regulations (1992) as:
“A. Any waste which consists wholly or partly of human or animal tissue, blood or any
other body fluids, excretions, drugs or other pharmaceutical products, swabs or dressings,
or syringes, needles or other sharp instruments, being waste which unless rendered safe
may prove hazardous to any person coming into contact with it;
B. and any other waste arising from medical, nursing, dental, veterinary,
pharmaceutical or similar practice, investigation, treatment, care, teaching or research, or
the collection of blood for transfusion, being waste which may cause infection to any
person coming into contact with it”.

This allows for certain types of Clinical Waste to be excluded from this definition provided
that it has been made safe, for example by disinfection or autoclaving. However, some
wastes cannot easily be rendered safe, or will cause alarm or distress to anyone handling
or finding them. It is therefore College policy to treat all Clinical Waste as such, whether it
has been rendered safe or not and, with the exception of carcasses suitable for knackers
and macerated carcasses, to send all such waste for incineration.

Categories of Clinical Waste and its disposal
Table 1 lists types of Clinical Waste produced at The Royal Veterinary College and
indicates which containers should be used for its disposal.
Groups A, B, C, D and E are taken from the Health and Safety Commission's guidance
produced by the Health Services Advisory Committee entitled "Safe Disposal of Clinical
Waste" (see ref. 1). It categorises Clinical Waste according to its potential risk to health
and safety. Groups A, B and C offer the highest risks. Group C can be regarded as the
most hazardous because, it includes cultures containing large numbers of pathogenic
micro-organisms, while Group E is the lowest, although this waste may be more visually
offensive than the others.

Perceived Clinical Waste and Bedding from Animal Cages are categories not embraced
by the definition of Clinical Waste. However, for the purposes of this document they may
be treated as Clinical Waste.

Reviewed October 2008 Version 2.0 Page 1 of 6 Estates

autoclave Route of disposal depends on and skip or yellow bag risk assessment • hazardous and/or infected waste yellow bag Reviewed October 2008 Version 2.0 Page 2 of 6 Estates .. e. label body well (Mill Reef) (cold room if not picked up quickly within 2 hours) • carcass for individual cremation yellow/green stripe bag in Waste assessed as infectious cold room or hazardous should be double • carcass. from infectious disease cases • swabs and dressings yellow bag • glass and plastic blood tubes etc.g. needles sharps container waste • small items of broken glass sharps container • other sharp instruments sharps container Group C yellow bag Keep separate from all other • microbiological cultures and potentially waste infected waste pathological to humans Autoclave prior to disposal • viable genetically modified organisms Autoclave prior to disposal Group D special waste drum Keep separate from all other • pharmaceutical waste waste Group E yellow bag • items used to dispose of urine. bag just head of big carcass. faeces • other bodily secretions and other potentially infected waste eg hazardous and infected bedding Perceived Clinical Waste • needles. special waste drum Group B Keep separate from all other • scalpel blades. Sulo bin or Hopper • non-pathological animal carcasses from knackers. pets for owner to collect black bag CLEARLY bagged or autoclaved prior to LABELLED in cold room disposal depending on risk • large animal carcasses/tissues . items capable of yellow bag after boxing or puncturing bag wrapping in newspaper • other objects normally associated with yellow bag clinical work Bedding from Animal Cages (BSU) Keep separate from all other • non-infected. in cold room • all human tissues including blood yellow bag • waste materials where assessment yellow bag indicates a risk to staff handling them. used in Keep separate from all other sharps container non-clinical activities waste • plastic pipettes etc. non-hazardous waste skip waste • infected waste autoclave cold room to freezer. yellow/red stripe bag for assessment potentially pathological carcass bits. The Royal Veterinary College Table 1 Disposal and Containment of Clinical Waste Waste Disposal via Notes Group A Keep separate from all other • small animal carcasses/tissues macerator waste • small animal carcasses/tissues yellow/red stripe bag . scalpels and blades.

Clinical Waste should never be placed in black refuse bags and clinical waste bags should not be used for any other purpose. must be affixed to every clinical waste bag.For Incineration Only". Bags should be covered when not in use. and name and telephone number of destination.To Be Incinerated". Filled bags should be sealed at the neck with a cable tie.0 Page 3 of 6 Estates . Plastic pipettes should be placed in a cardboard box and sealed. Sharps containers should be sealed when three-quarters full. Sharps containers should be placed in yellow bags. Opaque yellow with red stripe bags should be used for disposing of carcass or meat waste. bagged then initialled by the producer before being placed in a yellow bag with other laboratory clinical waste.). tied off and initialled by the producer. A spring balance should be available for weighing them. Containment All Clinical Waste containers should be capable of containing the waste without spillage or puncture. e. The weight should not exceed 4Kg when full. before placing in a yellow bag. The bags should be opaque yellow and clearly marked with the words "Clinical Waste . pharmaceuticals in bottles. The containers should be coloured yellow and clearly marked with the words "Danger Contaminated Sharps . f. Plastic clinical waste which is capable of puncturing the bag must be packaged to make it safe. and depict the biohazard sign. autoclaved if necessary. laboratory chemicals. not mixed with other waste. or wrapped in newspaper and taped up. Sharps Containers Sharps containers should conform to BS 7320. d. which will act as a point of reference should there be an accident or incident in the process of disposal. a. There should be a space for sticking labels and written information. so that the source can be traced in the event of a subsequent accident or incident. and the bags should not exceed 4Kg when full. c. with department and address of waste producer. leak proof and capable of being handled and moved whilst in use with minimal danger of the contents spilling or falling out. contamination and infection. Tube and bottle lids should be well secured to avoid leakage. The Royal Veterinary College 1. Bags should be fitted to bag holders or in a rigid bin at the place of origin. Personalised self- adhesive bar code labels (supplied by CPC). They should be puncture resistant. Before commencing any work do a COSHH risk assessment. they should carry the code UN3291. Reviewed October 2008 Version 2. At the bench. rigid. and when full. Clinical Waste Bags Clinical Waste bags should conform to EU standards. Special Waste Drums Single-use. They should be changed when they are three quarters full. especially during transport and handling. also written on the bag must be the disposal date and name of the user group. Sharps containers should be clearly marked with the place and date of origin. laboratory waste should be accumulated in autoclave bags. and ensure you are familiar with local rule and operating procedures b. yellow drums are used for the disposal of special wastes such as contaminated glass (blood tubes etc.

The Royal Veterinary College When full the drum lids should be pressed on tightly and the drum collected for incineration.0 Page 4 of 6 Estates . Reviewed October 2008 Version 2.

Sharps in containers must not be pressed down to create room for more. disposable scoop and spatula should be readily available. Handling Clinical Waste bags should be handled with care and by the neck only. They supply lockable Sulo bins and hoppers. Spillage Procedure a. disinfectant. exposing handlers to contaminated waste. latex gloves. They should be capable of keeping Clinical Waste dry and secure from unauthorised persons. Departmental procedures should give clear local guidance for dealing with spillages. Waste animal carcasses that cannot be disposed of immediately should be placed in a labelled yellow/red stripe bag and stored in a suitable freezer or cold room awaiting collection. rodents and insects. Warn people nearby to avoid contact b. Put on disposable apron and gloves d. domestic animals. disposable protective clothing. Wash hands thoroughly Reviewed October 2008 Version 2. If waste is likely to present a risk due to its infectious or hazardous nature or become offensive. Obtain spillage kit c. Place all used paper. Clinical Waste should be removed from its place of origin for storage prior to collection. Using the scoop and spatula shovel spilled waste into the new bag or. Thoroughly clean and wipe the area with disinfectant g. Bags should never be thrown or dropped. spare bags. The Royal Veterinary College Storage Registered contractors are employed to remove and incinerate carcasses and clinical waste from the college. This could cause bags to split or burst. Departments should nominate a responsible person from each laboratory to carry out this task. The waste should not be allowed to accumulate in unsuitable places such as corridors. accidents and incidents. Slide a new yellow bag over the burst bag e. Spillage kits comprising of disposable apron. DO NOT HANDLE CLINICAL SHARPS f. sharps container. in the case of sharps. and equipment into the yellow bag and tie securely h. and can supply bags and rigid bins. Accidents and Spillages Areas should be washed down and disinfected immediately in the event of accidental spillage. then it should be removed to storage as soon as possible. They should be sited away from areas where food is prepared and general storage areas. Ensure sharps containers are fastened i. Spilled sharps should not be handled directly. into a new container.0 Page 5 of 6 Estates . Storage areas for Clinical Waste should be designated by the Department. birds.

Transfer notes form part of the compliance procedure with the 'duty of care' as required by the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Additional collections may be arranged. The Royal Veterinary College Training All staff and students who are required to handle or move Clinical Waste should receive appropriate training which has been organised by the Department. Transfer notes must be retained for two years after the date of transfer. incidents and spillages.0 Page 6 of 6 Estates . REFERENCES 1. and costs of transport and incineration services are charged to individual research groups/departments. by Departmental Administrators or their delegates. Training should also be given on what action to take in the event of accidents. if required. sharps containers. Collection Clinical Waste will be collected from The Royal Veterinary College on a weekly basis by Cambridge Pet Crematorium or other approved and registered contractor. HMSO.Safe Disposal of Clinical Waste. bins and bag holders. The training should include local arrangements for implementing the procedures outlined in this document. Costs All the cost of bags. Documentation All transfer notes describing the type and quantity of waste being transferred to the waste carrier are processed and retained by Departmental Administrators or their delegates. ISBN 011886355X Reviewed October 2008 Version 2. Health Services Advisory Committee.