3 Phases of Healthcare Waste Management in Emergencies

The World Health Organization describes three phases of healthcare waste management during an emergency in the second edition of its handbook, "Safe Management of Wastes From Health-Care Activities."

The chapter on healthcare waste management in emergencies is new to the handbook, and includes steps to take to remove waste as soon as possible after an emergency to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Here are the three phases of waste management in emergencies:

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1. Rapid initial assessment. In this phase, leaders should conduct a rapid initial assessment of the situation to determine critical and immediate needs. The assessment should be updated as more data become available, according to the handbook.

2. Emergency response. Based on the rapid initial assessment, leaders should develop a simple action plan that outlines responsibilities for individuals and emergency response organizations. The handbook states that a good starting point in the response phase is to separate sharps and non-sharps wastes in different bins, which should be kept separate until final disposal.

3. Recovery. In the recovery phase, leaders should conduct a more detailed assessment to identify priorities for continued waste management.

More Articles on Healthcare Waste Management:

WHO Updates Healthcare Waste Management Handbook
Top 10 Rules for Sharps Safety 

6 Points on Environmental Compliance in Healthcare 


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