Medical Waste Management for Funeral Homes

Healthcare facilities like hospitals, dental clinics, nursing homes, and physicians’ offices generate a large amount of daily medical waste.  Less talked about producers of medical waste include tattoo parlors and funeral homes, both of which deal with instruments that come in contact with bodily fluids and other regulated medical waste.

Funeral home staff members work with deceased human beings who can harbor a myriad of diseases, both communicable and non-communicable.  It is essential for every funeral home to correctly manage their waste, for health and regulatory reasons.

The embalming process is considered a medical procedure; for arterial embalming, the blood is removed from the body through the veins and replaced with an embalming solution through the arteries. The embalming solution is usually a combination of formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, ethanol, phenol, and water. The waste that is generated from the embalming process is considered medical waste and must be dealt with according to state and federal laws.

Working with the insides of a human body can expose staff to biohazardous material. It is imperative that funeral homes discard disposable objects that contact the body in a clearly marked biohazard container and take suitable precautions to protect everyone that comes into contact with the materials.

Examples of materials used in a funeral home or mortuary that are considered medical waste include:

  • Arterial tubes, cannulas
  • Scalpels
  • Scissors
  • Incision needles
  • Trocars
  • Swabs, dressings, and other fabrics that come into contact with a body

There are certain safety practices during the embalming process that must be used to keep staff safe, including:

  • Taking extreme care to prevent cuts, lacerations and splashing of contaminated blood or body fluids.
  • Disinfecting the body with medical grade disinfectant. Wash with a germicidal soap and rinse thoroughly. Keep water pressure low to avoid splashing.
  • Make sure all waste containers are clearly labelled.
  • Check the qualifications of the medical waste disposal company and keep all disposal receipts and records. Manifests must be maintained.

Each funeral director bears personal responsibility for the proper disposal of the waste generated, as required by federal, state, and local law.

MedXwaste services funeral homes in the state of New York and Florida, taking the utmost care and respect for the nature of the funeral business. MedXwaste promises to provide excellent customer service with flexible pickup schedules, as well as compliance training for your staff.