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New recommendations for sorting healthcare waste in connection with the revision of the national guide on the elimination of waste from healthcare activities

To characterise the infectious (biological) risk of healthcare waste, the HCSP recommends the following definition: "Infectious risk waste (biological risks) corresponds to healthcare waste from a site of active multiplication of pathogenic biological agents (groups 2 to 4) (infectious site or microbial colonisation). Infectious risk waste also corresponds to healthcare waste that is heavily impregnated with blood, secretions or excretions with a risk of leakage".

This general definitional framework is proposed for the safe disposal of infectious risk healthcare waste in the context of the revision of the Ministry of Health’s 2009 guide and takes into account, on the basis of a clinical assessment, the pathogenic nature, quantity and active metabolism of the biological agents present in the healthcare waste (Public Health Code). This definition is based on international recommendations on specific requirements for the collection and disposal of healthcare waste in relation to the risk of infection. Depending on the conditions of exposure to micro-organisms and microbial compounds, it takes into account the protection requirements of healthcare professionals and staff in charge of household waste, in order to integrate the prevention of infectious (biological) risk as far upstream as possible, at the source of waste production.

The procedures will have to be adapted to the specific nature of the activities of healthcare professionals and to the local organization of household waste disposal channels, and will have to be the subject of information, training and awareness-raising for professionals. The HCSP points out that waste producers are responsible for sorting and disposing of their healthcare waste.

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