Sanitary bin legal requirements and waste disposal regulations
What is sanitary waste?
Sanitary waste is an umbrella term covering waste from both single and multiple residences. It usually refers to:
- Liquid or solid waste originating solely from humans and human activities.
- Feminine hygiene products, used to absorb menstrual flow.
What is sanitary waste disposal?
The term ‘sanitary waste disposal’ primarily refers to the disposal of feminine hygiene products, used to absorb menstrual flow.
What is the process for emptying sanitary bins at work?
The “duty of care” principle means that employees should not be responsible for the management of sanitary waste. An external contractor (such as VR Sani Co Ltd) can provide the service, including collection, sanitisation and restocking of sanitary bags.
How often should sanitary bins be emptied?
Bins can be emptied anywhere from bi-weekly to monthly, depending on the requirements of your business (e.g. usage and bin volume).
What are the workplace regulations for sanitary bins?
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 specify that all businesses must provide a suitable means for disposing of sanitary products in each ladies washroom.
This is coupled with the Water Industries Act 1991, which states that no items should be flushed that could cause a build-up or blockage in a sewer or drain system. This can often be the only recourse if adequate sanitary bins are not provided.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, businesses also have a legal “duty of care” to correctly and safely manage waste on their premises, right up to the point of final disposal. You are also held responsible for reviewing the relevant contractors.
Are sanitary bins a legal requirement in the UK workplace?
A lot of people are unaware of this, but as a business owner, you are legally required to adhere to a range of sanitary waste disposal regulations. They include:
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- The Water Industries Act 1991
- The Environmental Protection Act 1990
As well as being a rights issue, the failure to provide sanitary bins risks significant environmental damage, as well as damage to public and private drainage and sewer systems. Failure to educate yourselves about these laws and to apply them correctly risks incurring significant penalties.
Who empties workplace sanitary bins?
Under the ‘Duty of Care’ Act, there is a legal requirement for a business to manage sanitary waste to the point of disposal. This means employees cannot be made responsible for disposing of the waste themselves.
All sanitary waste must be handled by a licensed carrier, VR Sani-Co Ltd being one such example. A full audit trail of documentation must be available and kept for two years after collection.
Baby care regulations and legal requirements
What is the process for disposing of nappies at a nursery?
Nurseries have an obvious requirement for waste disposal, with large amounts of offensive waste every day. As such, there are specific laws that you need to follow:
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Act states anything that comes into contact with bodily fluids (blood, plasma, mucus, etc.) that cannot be sterilised must be treated as hazardous waste.
- The Environmental Protection Act 1990 mandates a legal “duty of care” to ensure all waste produced on nurseries premises is managed correctly up until final disposal; and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure this duty of care is carried out.
- Nursery waste is considered biohazardous material, meaning that you cannot dispose of it into normal waste streams.
What are the hygiene regulations for nurseries?
Laws and regulations relating to hygiene in nurseries include:
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1999
- Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
- Food Safety Act 1990
What are the rules on Certification and Codes of Good Practice?
Food and hygiene training certificates must be clearly displayed, as well as a notice indicating the active member of staff responsible for healthcare and hygiene.
Efforts should also be made to display certificates and notices pertaining to:
- Risk assessments
- The smoking ban (Health Act 2006)
- Food hygiene certificates
- Environmental health registration
- Public liability insurance
What are the rules on designated areas in the workplace?
Purpose-built nurseries are legally required to designate specific areas for bathrooms, kitchens and toilets. Ofsted rules require that every effort be made to avoid the cross-infection of children, owing to lax cleaning standards.
The best way to enforce this is to routinely and thoroughly train staff, and to display health and safety procedures at key points around the nursery.
What is the process for disposing of nappies at a school?
Nappies from childcare practices are classed as clinical waste. This means it is against the law to put them in domestic bins. Sanitary bins must be provided, with removal and disposal carried out on a daily basis by a specialised waste disposal firm.
What are the regulations concerning baby changing facilities?
While building regulations state that is desirable for new projects to include baby changing and disability changing areas, there is no law requiring businesses to provide baby changing facilities. However, it is common sense that businesses catering to families should be able to accommodate their need for changing areas.
Clinical waste regulations and legal requirements
What is offensive waste?
‘Offensive waste’ is non-clinical waste that is considered non-infectious. While offensive waste does not contain pharmaceutical or chemical substances, it may still be unpleasant to anyone who comes into contact with it.
What are the regulations for offensive waste?
There are several laws and regulations in the UK concerning the disposal of offensive/hygiene waste, and they could lead to substantial fines if offensive waste is not managed responsibly and professionally.
An integral part of clinical waste legislation is to ensure that the correct segregation and storage of waste is completed. This guarantees that it is managed and disposed of safely, reducing the potential risk to both humans and the environment.
What is the process for disposing of offensive waste?
Quantities of offensive municipal waste above 7kg must be divided from general municipal waste. The offensive waste must be correctly colour coded, with the varieties of offensive waste listed below being segregated from each other before disposal.
Offensive waste disposal must be carried out by a licensed disposal firm, such as VR Sani-Co Ltd. Disposal takes place at specialised facilities used to minimise the risk of cross-contamination, infection or environmental damage.
What is the process for disposing of incontinence waste?
Incontinence waste is usually not classified as either clinical or hazardous, providing that patients do not have a special condition (e.g. UTI).
While community healthcare and similar waste should in principle be classified as offensive waste, quantities under 7kg may be disposed of as domestic waste in certain circumstances, such as home healthcare visits.
What are the different types of workplace waste?
Workplace waste is normally divided into three distinct categories:
- Healthcare (including clinical) waste – produced as a direct result of healthcare activities e.g. soiled dressings, sharps.
- Special (or hazardous) waste – arises from the delivery of healthcare in both clinical and non-clinical settings. Special waste includes a range of controlled wastes, defined by legislation, which contain dangerous or hazardous substances e.g. chemicals, pharmaceuticals.
- Domestic waste – must be segregated at source into:
- Dry recyclates (glass, paper, plastics, metals and cardboard)
- Residual waste (any other domestic waste that cannot be recycled)