Skip to main content

Biohazards to Avoid in A Healthcare Facility and How?

In simple terms, biohazard waste in a healthcare facility is any biowaste that can spread infection if wrongly handled. Biohazard waste can include blood, human cells and body parts, body fluids, and other human biological waste from healthcare facilities.

Most of this waste is likely contaminated with diseases, degradation, and other infections. If it is not handled correctly and is disposed of without care, the potential to spread the infection into the hospital and the environment is extremely high. Highly contagious infections like HIV and Hepatitis are two examples of what can be spread easily through waste.

Healthcare facilities do not only include those that cater to human health. For example, veterinary clinics and animal hospitals are also sources of biohazardous waste. Pet and stray animals may also be carriers of infectious diseases. Therefore, waste generated from the treatment of sick animals could just as easily infect people and the environment if not managed meticulously.

Facility management in healthcare facilities needs to create a highly effective, agile cleaning and waste management schedule that ensures that waste from the facility is appropriately segregated and destroyed as needed.

Different Kinds Of Biohazard Waste Found In A Healthcare Facility

Biohazard waste is not just blood and other bodily waste. Several criteria need to be checked to ensure that biohazard waste is identified correctly for disposal. Biohazard waste also includes types of equipment used to extract biological samples.

  1. Soiled Waste: Cotton swabs, bandages, dressings, plasters, and bags that have been used to mop up blood and other bodily fluids come under the banner of soiled waste.
  2. Sharps Waste: Sharps waste includes any sharp elements that have been used in medical practices for treating patients. For example, needles used for drawing blood or pumping medicines used syringes, lancets, scalpels used in surgeries, tweezers, etc., are examples of sharps waste.
  3. Chemical Waste: Chemical waste includes all the chemical components used in laboratories like solvents and disinfectants, heavy metals like mercury from broken thermometers, x-ray developing liquids, strong disinfectants used to scrub hospital floors, etc.
  4. Infectious waste: Infectious waste includes waste that any biological elements have contaminated, like blood or other fluids. For example, blood, stool, and urine samples were collected for diagnosis in the labs, waste from autopsies, etc.
  5. Toxic Waste: Toxic waste is waste that contains toxic and hazardous elements that may be carcinogenic or mutagenic. These wastes can result from drugs used to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, or other deadly diseases.
  6. Radioactive Waste: Any material or medical instrument that comes into contact with certain potentially dangerous isotopes used in hospitals and research facilities needs to be handled as radioactive waste.
  7. Pharmaceutical Waste: This type of waste comprises unused, expired, and contaminated prescription medicines and vaccines, personal care products that have passed expiry dates. It also consists of over-the-counter medicines at pharmacies.
  8. General Waste: This is the general waste generated during working hours, including paper waste, plastic, cups, cardboard boxes, stationery, etc.

How To Avoid Biohazards In A Healthcare Facility

Once waste from healthcare facilities has been correctly identified, waste must be properly segregated and disposed of as required. Not all waste should be treated the same.

The hospital facility manager should create safety protocols for the secure disposal of biohazards. The protocols should include a waste management plan to adequately address segregation and disposal methods for different types of waste. A team should also be created to ensure that all the waste disposal protocols are followed in full.

There should also be protocols for the safe transportation of the biohazardous waste to the site of disposal. Improper management of waste could result in spills and cause harm to the people and the environment.

Other than general waste, it would be unwise to use landfills or any other usual methods to avoid biohazards, as the infected waste could contaminate natural resources in the environment.
The most common and preferable way to get rid of biomedical and hazardous waste is by incinerating it either in the hospital facilities or by engaging in the services of an outside contractor for the same. It is safer to engage a third party in the process to ensure that all biomedical waste is removed from the healthcare facility. Burning the waste ensures that the waste does not give out any other output except for ash. It also significantly reduces the chances of further contamination of the environment.

However, toxic, radioactive, and chemical waste need to be studied to ensure that incineration does not release more harmful gases into the environment.

It is also possible to use irradiation, enzyme treatments, or chemical treatments to decontaminate the waste elements. Using these processes, it could be possible to dispose of the waste in the usual manner.


Irrespective of which methods are used for disposing waste from healthcare facilities, the hospital facility manager must ensure that waste is handled, collected, and segregated following all safety measures.

With proper handling and disposal methods, it is possible to ensure that biohazardous waste from hospitals does not infect the general population and is carried off to disposal safely and strategically.