Compass - Infection Control
Article for the Hospitals Magazine
Compass Medical Waste Services, established in 1998, provides a cost-effective, compliant, efficient, custom-made healthcare risk waste solution to generators of healthcare risk waste (HCRW) throughout South Africa.
We partner with our customers to assist them in offering excellent patient care, a priority being understanding infection control management and providing tools for the prevention of needlestick and sharps injuries and the safest possible solution for HCRW treatment and disposal.
Considered as highly hazardous healthcare risk waste, sharps refer to items that could puncture or cut, such as needles, blades, knives, broken glass, saws, amino hooks etc. and should be disposed of in the appropriate sharps container.
Sharps single-use container
Compass provides colour-coded, SANS-aligned and SABS / UN approved sharps containers, in both reusable and single use, varying in size depending on the volume of sharps waste generated on site. All containers are uniquely barcoded for tracking and traceability.
Custom-made brackets are available to fix the sharps containers to walls and trolleys. Compass has a sales executive allocated to each customer who, along with our maintenance team, do a ward walk to determine the best positioning of the container. This position is as close to application as possible, that is, as close to where the surgeon is operating or the nurse is administering the injection. The height must be ideal for the healthcare worker, at the same time as out of reach from the patient and visitors as possible.
The Compass single-use containers are available in round and rectangular sizes to suit requirements and do not contain PVC. They are rigid and puncture proof and have a full line indicating the ¾ full mark. Adhering to this full line is vital to limit needlestick injuries for healthcare workers as well as the Compass staff who collect and dispose of the HCRW.
Sharps reusable – Daniels Sharpsmart
Thousands suffer the trauma of a needlestick injury every year. Compass Medical Waste Services, in conjunction with Daniels Sharpsmart, offer a safer sharps management system, not only protecting patients and healthcare workers, but the environment too.
Compass partnered with Daniels International in 2005 and have the exclusive rights to sell Daniels Sharpsmart reusable container solutions.
Daniel Sharpsmart has been proven to be the world’s safest sharps management system. The international study on sharps containment systems, published in the British Journal of Hospital Infection in 2003, revealed that through the installation of Daniels as the only sharps container solution in a hospital, there was a dramatic reduction in needlestick injury - 87% down on container related sharps injuries. There is also a reduction in waste to landfill by 99%.
Correct segregation and containerisation training
The correct segregation and containerisation of HCRW helps to alleviate needlestick and sharps injuries and in turn the spread of infection which is why Compass provides ongoing
training and training material to our customers.
Training material is available to customers via our online document management system (DMS) enabling them to use the information for their internal training sessions with their healthcare workers.
Cradle to grave process
From a disease-transmission perspective, it is understood that the unsafe disposal of healthcare risk waste such as contaminated syringes poses a serious public health risk. Contaminated needles and syringes represent a particular threat, as the failure to dispose of them safely may lead to dangerous recycling and repackaging which will, in turn, lead to unsafe reuse.
To ensure HCRW is disposed and treated correctly, Compass delivers uniquely barcoded containers and collect ¾ full containers from the generator’s central storage area (CSA), weigh and scan the waste and oversee the signing off of the Waste Manifest – a legal requirement.
The waste is transported to Compass’ treatment facilities where it is autoclaved, shredded and landfilled. Anatomical and pharmaceutical (schedule 5 & 6) and cytotoxic waste is incinerated by a registered, permitted and reputable third parties.
A copy of the Waste Manifest is provided to customers for each consignment of HCRW collected. Safe Disposal Certificates are issued confirming that the HCRW has been safely treated and disposed of.
From containerisation to disposal, Compass supports the generator in reducing the spread of infection through:
- conducting ward walks and providing advice on the container type, numbers and positioning,
- the provision of SANS aligned and SABS / UN approved barcoded containers,
- ongoing training on the segregation and containerisation of HCRW,
- the tracking and traceability of the containers from distribution to collection and treatment,
- the correct treatment of the waste stream and the issuing of Waste Manifests and Safe Disposal Certificates.