National Health Care Risk Waste Draft Regulations Published For Comment14 May 2018
"General duties are proposed for HCRW generators, waste transporters and waste managers in relation to compliance with Waste Manifest Document requirements, training of employees and reporting requirements, amongst other aspects. "
On 30 April 2018, the Minister of Environmental Affairs published draft National Health Care Risk Waste Regulations in (GN 463 in GG 41601 of 30 April 2018). The draft regulations were published in terms of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 (NEM: WA). Members of the public are invited to submit any written comments and representations on the draft regulations by Wednesday, 30 May 2018.
Who is affected?
The draft regulations apply to the following categories of persons:
- generators of health care risk waste (HCRW);
- transporters of HCRW; and
- managers of HCRW.
The draft regulations do not apply to ‘domestic generators’. Domestic generators are defined as –
- a household generator; or
- other generators who generates less than one kilogram per day of HCRW calculated monthly as a daily average.
The draft regulations are intended to regulate the management of HCRW in a manner which is consistent with NEM:WA and to prescribe the requirements for management of HCRW in such a manner that it doesn’t constitute a threat to humans, animals, and the environment. The protection of third parties who manage HCRW is also prioritized and the general duties of waste generators, waste transporters and waste managers are also defined.
The legal framework regulating the management of HCRW is fairly fragmented at the moment with legislative requirements for managing this type of waste at national, provincial and local levels. Additional guidelines are prescribed in SANS Codes, published by the South African Bureau of Standards (‘SABS’). The draft regulations to some extent consolidate these various requirements at a national level but compliance with any other applicable provincial and municipal legislation is still required.
The draft regulations broadly regulate the management of HCRW throughout its lifecycle with focus on the following aspects:
- manner of disposal,
- packaging and labeling requirements;
- handling and storing (including whilst in transit); and
It is proposed that HCRW must be separated from general waste at the point of generation and also segregated in accordance with SANS 10248-1. Segregation entails separating the HCRW into categories designated in the regulations.
General duties are proposed for HCRW generators, waste transporters and waste managers in relation to compliance with Waste Manifest Document requirements, training of employees and reporting requirements, amongst other aspects. However, the regulations also impose specific duties on each respective category of persons, as summarised below:
Most of the draft regulations will come in force on the date of publication in the government gazette. However, the provisions relating to packaging, labeling, storage of HCRW as well as some duties of generators, will commence six months after the date of publication.
Noncompliance with the draft regulations would be an offense, attracting a maximum imprisonment period of 15 years, an appropriate fine or both such fine and imprisonment. The fine amount will be determined on the basis of the severity of the offense and its impact on health, well-being, safety and the environment, as well as the monetary or other benefits accrued by the convicted person through commission of the offense.
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