Medical waste spillage on Australian road

A TV news report concerning clinical (medical) waste items strewn across a section of grassed roadside in Australia makes interesting listening.


Several issues are of interest:

In response to the incident, that seems to involve both used and unused syringes and needles and filled or part-filled sharps containers, nobody wants to take responsibility for the spillage, or for clearing it. Contractors, healthcare providers, highways authorities, the local council, the health department and Environmental Protection Authority all seek to shirk responsibility and ‘dump’ this on someone else!

And in the video, the striking images of workmen picking sharps by hand and with an inappropriate glove type, and placing this sharps waste into black bin liners, gives much further cause for concern.

The opportunity for sharps injury is great, perhaps even more as a TV crew tramps through the waste, with further dispersal of windblown items lost in long grass. It may make good TV to peer into a sharps bin but it had a lid for a purpose and taking that lid off at the roadside for the benefit of a TV reporter is not wise. Safety is paramount and these scenes do not suggest competent health and safety management.

We have mentioned previously on the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum the difficulties of litter picking and the retrieval of sharps from grass and more dense undergrowth, from sand and from snow.

If ever there was to be a ‘how not to do it‘ this could be it!


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