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Clinical Waste - Sharps and Other Health Risks

Clinical waste can pose a serious risk to the health and safety of both workers and members of the general public who may inadvertently come into contact with it if it is not disposed of in a correct and safe manner.

Numerous industries and professions create and handle clinical and biohazardous waste, and as such have a requirement to ensure its proper storage and disposal. These include medical facilities such as hospitals and doctors surgeries, dentists, veterinary surgeries and mobile blood donation facilities to name but a few.

The two main dangers and hazards associated with such facilities include sharps risks from syringes and other sharp implements such as scalpels, along with infection from contact with fluids on items like used bandages or organic tissue.

In fact, sharp objects can pose a danger not only from cuts and lacerations caused by the sharp item itself, but can also spread infection if blood or tissue is present on it. It is for this reason that sharps training is so important for any worker who has the possibility of coming into contact with, or who works with, sharp objects. This is not solely limited to those working in the medical profession, but also includes those in many other roles such as customs officials who have to search people and bags and may come into contact with a sharp object such as a syringe or knife.

A third danger along with sharps and infection risks comes from discarded drugs and medicine. All medication has a use-by date on the packaging, after which it is highly inadvisable to take it, particularly as its effectiveness is likely to be severely reduced. Medical facilities will often keep stocks of drugs and medicine on the premises to dispense to patients. If any of this reaches its use-by date and is still on the shelf it will need to be disposed of properly; often destroyed so that it does not fall into the hands of others who may be tempted to take it as a recreational drug or try and sell it on to others for money, as this will put these people's health and possibly even their lives at risk.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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