Protocol for Management and handling of Dental Hospital Waste – Color coding for waste disposal

Dental Clinic is similar to any Hospital or sometimes more than a Hospital in terms of Waste production which are the result of health care activities during Dental Procedures. Hospital Waste includes approximately 75-90% of Non-Hazardous or General waste which do not lead to any spread of infection to others and the remaining 15-25% are Hazardous which can cause infections or spread infections to others who are exposed to it. 

Dental Hospital Waste Management using color coding

WHO Classification of Hospital Waste:

 This is very important to keep in mind to make sure that you or your staff are disposing off the Dental Clinic or Hospital waste in a correct manner. 

  1. General Waste: No risk to human health. Ex: Office paper, wrappers, general sweeping waste etc. 
  2. Pathological Waste: Human Tissue or fluid Ex: Body Fluids, Body Tissue, body parts (extracted tooth, excised soft tissue) etc. 
  3. Sharps: Sharp Waste items which can lead to pricking or cutting type injury to others Ex: Needles, Scalpers, Knives, BP Blades etc. 
  4. Infectious Waste: These are substances or items which can transmit bacterial, viral or parasitic disease to other humans who come in contact with it. These waste items are suspected to contain pathogens in it. Ex: Laboratory waste, used cotton or Gauze, tissue swabs, bandages, suture material etc. 
  5. Chemical Waste: These are chemicals which are used in dental treatments or diagnosis. Ex: Laboratory reagent, disinfectants, Xray film developers etc.
  6. Radio-active waste: These are mostly not found in Dental Hospitals or Clinics. These include Unused liquid from radiotherapy or lab research, contaminated glassware etc.  
  7. Pharmaceutical waste: Expired or out dated drugs
  8. Pressurized containers: Gas Cylinders, aerosal cans etc. 
  9. Genotoxic Waste: Waste containing Cytotoxic Drugs used in Cancer therapy 

Color coding for Dental Hospital Waste Collection and Disposal Management: 

Blue Container – Sharp items – Syringe needles, broken ampoules and glasses, scalp vein, BP blades etc.

Yellow Plastic Bag (bucket/card/board box)-

Solid Infectious or Pathological waste items

  • Cotton Swabs and dressing materials
  • Anatomical or human – Yellow Plastic Bag (in plastic bucket) – Placenta, organs, infected tissue, excised Gingiva, extracted tooth etc.

Green Plastic bucket – Urosac, Ryles tubes, Foleys catheter, drainage bottles, BT sets

Red Big plastic bucket – Solid non-infectious used IV bottles, IV sets

GI Tub – General waste, Scrap papers, food materials, wrappers

Yellow plastic bag in a bucket – Microbiology and biotechnology waste Culture swabs, stocks of specimen, human and animal Incineration ash

As important is the Collection of waste and segregating it into color coded bags, the storage of the waste is also very important until the collection of the waste is done from your Dental Clinic or Hospital.

Tips for Storage of Waste in Dental Hospital

  • Waste should not be stored in generation area for more than a period of 4-6 hours. 
  • Segregation should be done in a proper manner by the paramedic or sanitation staff
  • Waste collected in various areas should be transported for disposal or treatment

Transportation of Dental Hospital Waste:

  • The waste collected should be transported using a separate coriddor and not where the patients are present. 
  • General Waste can be deposited in muncipal dump
  • Waste collected for Autoclaving or Incineration should be dumped in a separate site for external transport in a separate colored bag. 
  • It has to be supervised constantly that there is no leakage from any of the collected bags. 

Once proper transportation is done, it is important to make sure that proper disposal and treatment of the waste is being performed by either your staff of any external service you might have hired. The following are the technologies which are used for waste disposal – Incineration, Chemical Disinfection, Wet and Dry thermal treatment, Microwave irradiation, Land disposal, Inertization. 

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