Health services and their staff are responsible for ensuring the safe and correct storage, handing, transportation and disposal of clinical waste.
Guidance for generators of clinical and related wastes can be found in the Environmental Protection Agencies' (EPA) Clinical and related waste – operational guidance (publication IWRG612).
Providing health service staff with a clear understanding of the correct management of clinical waste will reduce contamination and have safety, financial and environmental benefits for staff and patients including:
- reduced risk of infection and needlestick injury for staff
- compliance with NSQHS Standards (particularly action 4.14)
- compliance with EPA and WorkSafe regulatory requirements
- reduced environmental damage, such as fewer pharmaceutical substances entering water systems and increased resource recovery, and
- reduced waste management costs.
Clinical and related waste guidance – Supplement for healthcare staff
The Clinical and related waste guidance – Supplement for healthcare staff has been developed to provide specific guidance to Victorian hospitals and health services on managing clinical and related wastes. The supplement is a user-friendly guide, providing a simple and practical decision-making process to help health service staff identify whether items are clinical waste, landfill waste or recyclable.
It is recommended that the supplement is provided to all hospital staff as part of their on-board-training and used for clinical waste training. Hard copies have been provided to every public hospital and health service.
An A3 poster of the Waste Decision Tree is available for download. It is recommended the poster is displayed in each dirty utility, or wherever clinical waste is disposed of.
A PowerPoint presentation template summarising the supplement can be downloaded for use during in-service training.
Victorian waste management polices, procedures and guidelines
There are numerous policies, procedures and guidelines relating to clinical waste management in Victoria. The list below is provided for information purposes only and is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the applicability of the information provided to their circumstances.
Those relying on this list are advised to verify all relevant information and obtain independent legal advice prior to acting on any information. The department makes no representation as to the accuracy or authenticity and does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) that is provided or incorporated by reference.
Clinical and related waste
Diagnostic, therapeutic, industrial and other uses of radiation have contributed to the safety and quality of life for all Victorians. However, the use of radiation does involve hazards if it is used inappropriately or unnecessarily.
The department regulates the use of radiation to protect people and the environment from its harmful effects by licensing users of radiation sources and managers of radiation practices under the Radiation Act 2005. A radiation practice can include the possession, transport, disposal or sale of radiation sources.
For more information on managing radiation, see Radiation.