Creating A New Normal in EVS Worker Safety
Environmental Service Workers are cleaning professionals on the frontlines in healthcare’s ongoing battle against Hospital Associated Infections (HAIs). In their efforts to reduce the environmental risks to patients while they stay in the hospital, EVS workers themselves are exposed to daily risks. A frequent hazard for these professionals is the handling and management of medical waste. As a global partner specializing in safer healthcare waste management strategy, Daniels Health provides an answer to how we can create a new normal that prioritizes the safety of Environmental Services.
IN THIS BLOG:
1 / Occupational Hazards to EVS Workers
2 / How Daniels Health reduces those hazards
3 / EVS’s need for reliable healthcare waste management partners
Occupational Hazards to EVS Workers
EVS is a physically, and often emotionally, demanding profession. How a hospital chooses to manage their healthcare waste, and what partner or containers they choose for disposal, impacts their EVS staff directly. If a facility chooses an unreliable healthcare waste management partner, their cleaning staff will experience one of the main occupational hazards that is often unspoken of stress.
Stress in this role can be created by a variety of factors including:
- Poor training on how to manage a facility’s medical waste containers
- Fear of contracting Bloodborne Pathogens while on duty
- Unreliable or unsafe equipment to manage medical waste
Other occupational hazards to EVS include:
- Chemical Hazards - the materials used to clean and sanitize a hospital may be toxic to staff if mishandled
- Biological Hazards - such as the aforementioned exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens, infectious bacteria, etc.
- Physical Hazards - this role can be labour-intensive, especially in regards to medical waste management
How We Reduce EVS Occupational Hazards
Eliminating hand-tying of RMW bags and unnecessary touches
Did you know the total number of touches when a healthcare worker is hand-tying a bag of biohazardous waste is up to 8 times?! That is 7 times too many chances for an EVS worker to gain an infection. Daniels Health provides our partners with bagless, hands-free waste containers.
Our solution specifically for RMW waste is called the Medismart.
The Medismart does not require bags or secondary packaging and can be securely locked when full, thereby reducing labor, cross-contamination and waste handling risks.
Education on proper waste segregation
When an EVS staff is empowered with ongoing education and support on proper healthcare waste segregation - they actively reduce waste volumes, and in turn, labor required.
Poor waste segregation not only causes frustration for staff but increases your cost of disposal. For example, at one point, Mission Health was experiencing challenges with their EVS staff improperly segregating pharma waste. This led to staff throwing away all wastes in hazardous black bins instead of segregating them properly - causing the containers to fill more regularly and a full-time EVS employee to spend entire weeks pulling them. The hospital campus was disposing of 36 - 45 boxes every week. That is a lot of labor.
Daniels Health supported Mission Health by building out educational materials for their entire staff on proper pharmaceutical waste segregation. In-service training occurred and additional handouts were provided. We then optimized the locations of both hazardous and non-hazardous pharma containers throughout the facility to promote proper segregation. After these efforts, EVS employees saw a decrease in time needed for waste management - allowing them to focus on other tasks. Now the hospital only produces 6 boxes of haz waste each week.
“We have seen a tremendous reduction in our cost associated with Hazardous Waste and this has allowed us to divert Mission EVS Staff who were once dedicated to this task onto more acute needs throughout our hospitals.”
Reduction of labor through lowered waste volumes
One way that Daniels Health supports EVS with labor reduction is by implementing smarter healthcare waste management systems.
One example of this is our work with Rome Memorial Hospital. The facility was concerned with back injuries their EVS staff had from double-stacking RMW tubs. Not only did these injuries impact the well being of their staff, but the estimated average cost of a back injury can be anywhere from $37,000 to $147,000.
Rome Memorial implemented our 96-gallon RMW totes that are on wheels - eliminating the need to double stack. This solution also provided mobile accessibility and averted injury risk.
Along with a recycling program and stronger waste segregation efforts, we were able to help this hospital reduce the turns of regulated medical waste bins from 1,099 to 379 per year. This change was a massive reduction in the labor caused by medical waste handling - giving their EVS staff better peace of mind and safer spines.
A 96 RMW tote on wheels is not where our mobility to reduce labor for EVS ends - we have an entire suite of...
Bulk Movement Accessories
We make waste move! To effectively minimize cross-contamination and labor, our bulk movement accessories enable EVS to maneuver multiple sharps, pharmaceutical, trace chemo and medical waste containers at once between soiled utility rooms, patient areas and the loading dock. Multi-container movement and dock-level storage dramatically reduces labor hours required to stage containers for use or ready for transport
Create a new normal of less laborious waste management by equipping your EVS team with:
Cleaning professionals have a responsibility to ensure all surfaces in patient areas are clean - and that includes any medical waste bins in patient areas. When EVS partner with Daniels Health, the question of “who cleans the bin?” is eliminated.
Not only do we offer a solution in the form of mobilized waste containers that can easily be removed from the patient environment, but all our containers are robotically sanitized after reach fill. With our patented Washsmart technology, each container undergoes a 6-stage washing process that reaches a level of clinical hygiene 4x higher than required by the CDC!
This ticks off one of many key responsibilities of EVS staff.
Stress-free reliable supply chain
If your healthcare waste management partner or medical waste container supplier is unreliable - your EVS team will face the brunt of any negative effects.
It is essential for their safety that your supplier provides containers and disposal in a timely fashion. If all contracted services are not provided, EVS may be left with a dangerous amount of waste or a full soiled utility room.
Daniels Health has a closed-loop supply chain because we manufacture and provide our reusable waste containment systems. This means we eliminate the monthly purchase dependency for disposable sharps, RMW, chemo, or non-haz pharma containers.
Through this ownership, we can guarantee no variability in servicing times or contracted frequency. We understand the stress that can happen when your facility doesn’t have the correct amount of clean containers or enough stock to meet waste influx - which is why we ensure you always have enough to avoid any challenges.
Need For A Reliable Partner
EVS staff work in tandem with your healthcare waste management partner. We have the same goal - reduce the risk of cross-contamination and minimize overhandling of medical waste throughout a facility.
Partnering with Daniels Health means embracing a new normal that understands the hazards EVS workers face daily. With over 30 years of experience, we have built a comprehensive waste management model that:
- Prevents service Interruptions - we come when you expect us to
- Communicates with your staff to anticipate any needs and create goals
- Respects the difficulty of daily tasks EVS is expected to achieve
- Provides education on proper waste segregation practices
- Prioritizes about the safety of your EVS staff
Experience the #DanielsDifference with a clinical trial
We understand that exploring change with another healthcare waste management provider can be daunting. This is why we offer departmental clinical trials.
A facility can experience the impact of our bulk movement accessories, waste segregation, and customized servicing frequency through a clinical trial in one, designated department. This exercise will demonstrate how our service and solutions compare to your current model that will continue in all other departments.
To inquire about a clinical trial, chat with us today.
Or if you are an EVS professional and wish to have a more personal conversation about your unique challenges, speak to one of our clinical professionals for a consultation.