The AOP has produced an online resource to help practitioners understand their waste disposal responsibilities.
AOP clinical and regulatory officer, Farah Gatrad, told OT that the guidance offered advice on how to dispose of waste safely in day-to-day optometric practice.
“As waste producers, there is a legal responsibility and legal standards that practices need to be following,” Ms Gatrad highlighted.
The guidance covers general domestic, non-hazardous and hazardous waste, and also the disposal of sharps.
As well as specific obligations for each category of waste, practitioners are encouraged to separate clinical waste from general waste, and hazardous waste from non-hazardous waste.
"Ultimately, it is about safety and minimising risk"
It is also important to store waste securely, hire a suitable waste contractor and keep appropriate records of waste disposal.
Practices that failed to follow their legal obligation to safely dispose of waste risked serious consequences, Ms Gatrad explained.
“Not following these guidelines could raise concerns with the NHS and create issues around General Optical Service contract compliance,” she added.
Following the right procedures reduces the chances of harm and infection that can arise through the careless disposal of hazardous waste.
“Ultimately, it is about safety and minimising risk,” she concluded.