Provision aid items are categorized as hazardous

Provision of first aid kit become a mandatory as part of
employer responsibility as stated in Section 15 of Occupational Safety and
Health Act 1994 (OSHA 1994) and Section 25 of the Factories and Machinery Act
1967 (Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994); (Factories and Machinery Act,
1974).  As the provision of First Aid must be consistent
and efficient as part of employee’s welfare, Department of Safety and Health
(DOSH) with collaboration with few other contributors had come out with the Guidelines
on First-Aid In The Workplace up to Second Edition revised version in 2004. The
main objective of the Guidelines is to assists on the first-aid facilities planning and implementation in the
workplaces by employers, occupiers and health and safety personnel. (Guidelines on First-Aid In The Workplace
(2nd Edition), 2004). However, the contents of the
Guideline is not covering a holistic idea of first aid management as it is too
focusing on the requirements without expanding the guidance on handling and disposal
method.

As part of health
care products, the need of proper disposal of unused or expired first aid items
become important to reduce the burden on domestic waste treatment. Typical
component of first aid items vary with different type of products such as
paper, wood, consumable products, solvent based items and drug contained
materials. Some of the contents of first aid items are categorized as
hazardous waste. Even though the
quantity of first aid wastes produced is in small quantity, there is still some
risks and potential dangers for environment related to mishandling of wastes.
To start evaluating and understanding of the current state on first aid waste
handing, tertiary institutions are selected as the starting case study
considering nowadays university
communities can be considered as ”mini cities” with different degrees of
effect on the environment (Adeniran,
Nubi, & Adelopo, 2017). Due to this, it is justifiable for the need of proper first aid
kit management based on ‘cradle to grave’ concept to be introduced and
implemented in any workplace including tertiary institutions environment.

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1.0   Literature Review

1.1   Definition of Health Care and First Aid

In Guidelines on
The Handling and Management of Clinical Wastes in Malaysia, health care can be
defined as any medical activities such as monitoring, diagnosis or treatment
prevention of disease of handicap in humans or animals performed under the
supervision of any person authorized by their professional qualifications (Guidelines on The Handling and
Management of Clinical Wastes in Malaysia (3rd Edition), 2009 ). The definition of first aid
as stated in Guidelines on First Aid in the Workplace by DOSH is the assessment
and interventions carried out by a first aider for the injury with minimal
equipment until qualified medical or health personnel arrive to provide
treatment. First aid provision is including all appropriate facilities,
services and personnel required for the immediate treatment of injury or
illness at a workplace (Guidelines on First-Aid In The
Workplace (2nd Edition)). First aid emphasized on
early treatment once casualty occurred while health care is covering all phases
of casualty treatment. By comparing both definition, first aid also can be
categorized as a subset of health care elements.

1.2   Requirement of first aid provision

There are few
first aid component in the workplace or premise such as first aid kit,
first-aiders, first-aid room and first-aid equipment. The size or quantity of
first aid kit and number of first aiders in particular  workplace are based on few factors such
industry type, workers headcount, number of work shifts and distance of workplace
location to the nearest medical clinic or hospital (Guidelines on First-Aid In The
Workplace (2nd Edition), 2004). Considering the large
headcount of employees in large premise, the provision of first aid items can
be as many as health care facilities.

1.3   First Aid waste Categorization

The World Health
Organization (WHO) define health care waste as any waste generated by health
care activities including waste produced from ‘minor’ or ‘scattered’ source (World Health Organization,
Definition and Characterization of health-care waste). As first aid is part of
health and medical services, hence the waste can be categorized based on their components.
First aid products potentially end up to produce several categories of waste
such as infectious waste, sharps, pharmaceutical waste and chemical waste. In
Guidelines on The Handling and Management of Clinical Wastes in Malaysia, the
categorization of first aid is almost as similar as WHO categorization on
health care waste. Table 1 is the list of first aid waste categories;

 

 

 

 

 

Table
1: First Aid Waste Categories

Components

First Aid Products

Waste Category

Equipment or materials that have been in contact
with blood or any body parts of injured person suspected to contain pathogens.
 

Tissues (swabs, gauze pads and dressings)
Bandages (triangular, elastic and roller)
Eye pads
Gloves
Adhesive tape
Alcohol prep pads
Cotton buds
Barrier device for CPR such as  pocket mask and face shield

infectious waste,
(clinical waste)

Clinical waste

Any equipment with sharps or pointed parts that able
to cause an injury to human.

Scissors
Safety pin
Cervical collar
plastic apron
Splints

Sharps
(clinical waste)

Items contaminated by pharmaceuticals product
 

Bottles and boxes of pharmaceuticals products.

Pharmaceutical waste (clinical waste)

Waste containing chemical substances that are
expired or no longer needed

Disinfectants
Antiseptic
Burn aid cream
Yellow lotion

Chemical waste

Products or items in the solid state that are
expired or no longer needed

Cold pack compress gel
Unused absorbent paper
Unused swabs

Solid waste

Any products or tools that contained high densities
of poisonous metal.

Thermometer
 

Heavy metals

As first aid facilities and items are mainly used for early treatment of
casualty, most of the study do not really focusing much on the hazardous waste
elements in first aid items. There are no previous published studies assessing
and categorized first aid elements particularly in hazardous elements. The
assessment and categorization was always conducted in bigger scale of health
care waste focusing in large health care services such as hospitals, clinics,
pharmacies and university clinics (Hossain, Santhanam, Nik Norulaini, & Omar, 2011); (Ananth, Prashanthini, & Visvanathan, 2010).