Handle waste in a health care environment

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to handle waste in a safe manner within the health care environment


The unit will apply to a variety of work roles, but is not intended for specialised or full-time, or substantially full-time, cleaning work roles

Work is often performed under limited supervision and generally within a team environment

Individuals are accountable for their own results


Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Determine job requirements

1.1 Review work sheets to determine waste handling requirements

1.2 Select and obtain appropriate equipment required for waste handling tasks to maximise work effectiveness and efficiency

1.3 Organise and set up work areas to ensure safe, effective and efficient handling of waste in accordance with workplace requirements and relevant legislation

1.4 Identify and manage potential risks and hazards to work according to job requirements, in accordance with workplace requirements, work health and safety (WHS), infection control and other relevant legislation

1.5 Follow workplace procedures for reporting identified risks

1.6 Select and fit emergency and personal protective equipment in accordance with job requirements, manufacturers' specifications, workplace requirements and relevant legislation

2. Identify and segregate waste

2.1 Clearly identify and handle hazardous, dangerous and non-conforming waste in accordance with workplace policies and procedures as well as relevant legislation

2.2 Accurately identify, label and segregate all waste according to waste types in accordance with workplace policies and procedures and relevant legislation

2.3 Carefully place all sorted waste into correct waste category containers to prevent litter in work areas and avoid cross contamination

2.4 Frequently monitor waste containers to ensure adequate available containers and to secure containment of waste

2.5 Empty or replace full waste containers promptly to minimise disruption to the workplace, in accordance with policies and procedures and job requirements

2.6 Clearly label segregated waste in accordance with job requirements, workplace policies and procedures and relevant legislation

3. Transport and store waste appropriately

3.1 Select appropriate transport equipment for waste transport activities to maximise work effectiveness and efficiency and in accordance with workplace policies and procedure and relevant legislation

3.2 Colour code and label all transport equipment in accordance with workplace policies and procedures and relevant legislation

3.3 Ensure that transport loads are secured and not overloaded according to workplace requirements and relevant legislation

3.4 Perform waste collection rounds as often as required to minimize waste overflow hazards

3.5 Enclose and secure storage areas in accordance with workplace requirement and relevant legislation

3.6 Ensure that waste types are stored in accordance with relevant legislation and workplace requirements

4. Conduct quality control activities

4.1 Inspect and check waste to ensure that it is placed in the correct waste receptacle

4.2 Inspect storage areas and check they are secured in accordance with workplace requirements and relevant legislation

4.3 Ensure all details of quality control activities are documented accurately and promptly in accordance with workplace requirements and relevant legislation

5. Clean up work areas

5.1 Clean waste storage sites and all equipment to ensure safe and effective future operation in accordance with company requirements

5.2 Dispose of waste from cleaning activities in accordance with workplace requirements, council requirements and relevant legislation

Required Skills

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

Containment methods

Duty of care in provision of waste handling activities

Emergency response procedures

Infection control guidelines

WHS requirements

Potential risks and hazards to waste sorting and containment

Relevant environmental regulations

Relevant industry standards

Relevant legislation

Site waste management processes

Sorting and transporting techniques

Waste contaminants

Waste non-conformance procedures

Waste types, streams and characteristics

Workplace requirements

Workplace waste management plans

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

Identify potential risks, hazards to waste handling and waste non-conformances

Interpret job requirements appropriately

Organise work areas and waste containers

Select appropriate emergency and personal protective equipment

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

Apply materials handling skills

Apply procedures for packaging and containment of waste

Communicate effectively, including: interpersonal; listening; questioning; following instructions; clear labelling; giving information

Demonstrate methodical organisation of work

Identify and handle waste non-conformances

Identify waste streams/types/characteristics

Identify waste types

Operate equipment correctly

Organise equipment availability

Read and interpret work requirements

Take into account opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues, including appropriate practices to ensure efficient use of resources

Use emergency and personal protective equipment

Use safe and efficient work practices

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit:

The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills

Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of workplace situations relevant to an identified work role.

Context of and specific resources for assessment:

This unit is most appropriately assessed in the workplace or in a simulated workplace and under the normal range of workplace conditions

Reassessment to accommodate changing workplace requirements and in accordance with the policies of the organisation

Resources for assessment may include access to materials and space as required to demonstrate competence, such as:

waste collection requirements

waste management plans

range of wastes for identification and handling

workplace policies and procedures

WHS requirements

personal protective equipment

equipment for waste handling

Consistency in performance:

Assessment may include observations, questioning and evidence gathered from the workplace environment

Assessment may require a variety of sites and waste characteristics that reflect different needs within the work environment

Assessment may be conducted on one occasion but should include normal range of workplace activities

Regular assessment of manual handling implications should be carried out on all tasks, particularly when:



new personnel are inducted

Access and equity considerations:

All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work

All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Health care sites include:


Nursing homes


Community settings

Home settings

Waste categories include:

Clinical waste

Body fluids, blood, suctioned fluids, excretions


Cytotoxic waste

Pharmaceutical waste

Chemical waste

Radioactive waste

Organic products

Liquid waste

General waste

Equipment includes, but is not limited to:

Barriers and warning signs

Spill kits

Mobile garbage bins and trolleys

Appropriate waste containers

Potential risks and hazards include, but are not limited to:

Risks and hazards that could lead to injury or illness of employees, contractors, visitors or the public

Damage to plant, vehicles or property

Harm to the environment

Manual handling


Compaction equipment

Gases and fumes

Hazardous waste eg sharps

Emergency and personal protective equipment may include:


Overalls and protective clothing

Eye protection

Appropriate footwear

Fire extinguisher

First aid kit

Spill kit

Emergency procedures guide

Material safety data sheet information

Breathing apparatus

Face shield or mask

Hearing protection

Waste characteristics include:

Waste streams

Waste types

Waste generation

Disposal methods




Cleaning could include:


Sweeping out


Use of decontamination products

Water hosing

Cleaning products/fluids

Supervisor may be:

Nominated personnel

WHS Representative

Work instructions may be:

Given verbally


In English

In community language

Provided visually on video, instructions sheets

Workplace procedures may include:

Cleaning procedures

Quality activities

Team meetings

Incident notification

Work performance requirements

Infection control practices


Not Applicable

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Licensing Information

Not Applicable