Preliminary risk analysis applied to the handling of health-care waste

Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering. 2002;19(4):377-381


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Journal Title: Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering

ISSN: 0104-6632 (Print); 1678-4383 (Online)

Publisher: Brazilian Society of Chemical Engineering

LCC Subject Category: Technology: Chemical technology: Chemical engineering

Country of publisher: Brazil

Language of fulltext: English

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Carvalho S.M.L.
Silva M.G.C.


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Editorial Board

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Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Between 75% and 90% of the waste produced by health-care providers no risk or is "general" health-care waste, comparable to domestic waste. The remaining 10-25% of health-care waste is regarded as hazardous due to one or more of the following characteristics: it may contain infectious agents, sharps, toxic or hazardous chemicals or it may be radioactive. Infectious health-care waste, particularly sharps, has been responsible for most of the accidents reported in the literature. In this work the preliminary risks analysis (PRA) technique was used to evaluate practices in the handling of infectious health-care waste. Currently the PRA technique is being used to identify and to evaluate the potential for hazard of the activities, products, and services from facilities and industries. The system studied was a health-care establishment which has handling practices for infectious waste. Thirty-six procedures related to segregation, containment, internal collection, and storage operation were analyzed. The severity of the consequences of the failure (risk) that can occur from careless management of infectious health-care waste was classified into four categories: negligible, marginal, critical, and catastrophic. The results obtained in this study showed that events with critics consequences, about 80%, may occur during the implementation of the containment operation, suggesting the need to prioritize this operation. As a result of the methodology applied in this work, a flowchart the risk series was also obtained. In the flowchart the events that can occur as a consequence of a improper handling of infectious health-care waste, which can cause critical risks such as injuries from sharps and contamination (infection) from pathogenic microorganisms, are shown.