Background : The aim of this questionnaire-based study conducted by the Austrian Society for Infection Control was to evaluate the current situation of waste disposal and the amount of medical non-hazardous waste in Austrian medical and dental surgeries in cities larger than 20,000 inhabitants. Based on the collected data, it was expected to identify potentials for optimisation with respect to storage, hygienic handling, and the possible need for improving knowledge on regulations related to waste management in out-of-hospital medical settings. Results: Seven percent of Austrian medical and dental practitioners (n = 358/5114) responded to the survey. 92% of respondents separate their medical waste following the Austrian regulations. The majority of respondents (85 %) were largely satisfied with the current situation of waste disposal. Overall, every medical or dental office had at least 1 disposal bin at 240 litters, which is emptied once weekly. However, only 22 % of respondents use the existing possibility to reduce the volume of residual waste by pressing or vacuum packaging before disposal. Due to the existing infrastructural conditions, particularly in Vienna, 83 % of the surveyed settings stated that they share their waste storage room with other residents of common apartment buildings, where 72 % of the residual waste bins are open to public access or are inadequately secured. Because of partial unsecured or poorly sealed waste, odour, or too frequently full disposal bins, 15 % of respondents reported regular conflicts with other tenants. Overall, respondents felt to be well informed about the Austrian Norm ÖNORM S 2104, which regulates disposal of hazardous medical waste. However, 56 % of doctors and 53 % of employees felt lesser informed about handling and regulations on disposal of non-hazardous waste generated in out-of-hospital setting. Conclusions: The results of this survey indicate that the current situation of waste disposal in the Austrian medical and dental out-of-hospital setting is satisfactory and that medical and dental practitioners feel sufficiently well informed about regulations related to waste management. However, most practitioners rarely use the existing possibility to compress the volume of the generated waste, and hence, miss an opportunity to prevent avoidable tensions with tenants and reduction of waste disposal costs.
|Journal||Hygiene + Medizin|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|