The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization recently adopted the new Regulation on Control of Medical Waste (the “Medical Waste Regulation”).
Based on the Environment Law No. 2872, the purpose of the Medical Waste Regulation is to reestablish the legal, administrative and technical procedures and principles, as well as policies and programs regarding the collection, temporary storage, transportation and disposal of medical waste.
Provisions on the requirement of the authorization certificate will enter into force on January 25, 2018. The remaining provisions entered into force on January 25, 2017, repealing the previous regulation dated July 22, 2005.
The main regulation on the control of medical waste was the repealed regulation dated July 22, 2005, which established the obligations of the facilities generating medical waste. These obligations included setting up a system to minimize the amount of medical waste generated and to ensure the proper collection, storage, transportation and disposal of medical waste, as well as keeping regular data records on the quantities of medical waste generated. The repealed regulation imposed certain obligations on official authorities for the control process of medical waste.
While the general framework of the repealed regulation has been retained, the new Medical Waste Regulation introduces new requirements, obligations and standards on the control of medical waste.
One of the most significant requirements introduced by the Medical Waste Regulation is the obligation to obtain an authorization certificate for the personnel assigned to the management of medical waste. An authorization certificate indicates that the relevant personnel has received the necessary training on the collection, temporary storage, transportation, sterilization and disposal of medical waste and the precautions against any injuries or illnesses that may arise during the control of the medical waste.
Other new provisions of the Medical Waste Regulation include the following:
The Medical Waste Regulation now imposes joint liability on those who carry out activities in relation to the collection, transportation, temporary storage and disposal of medical waste for any damages arising from the environmental pollution and damage caused by medical waste.
In accordance with the Medical Waste Regulation, medical waste can now be transported to the medical waste processing facilities located in other cities if it is significantly difficult to transport the medical waste to a facility located in the same city as the relevant medical waste.
The Medical Waste Regulation increases the standards for sterilization of infectious medical waste, such as the obligation to establish a laboratory to conduct sterilization procedures.
Actions to consider
Companies should be aware of how this new regulation will affect their operations in Turkey and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance regarding control of medical waste. To such end, companies which operate facilities generating medical waste should evaluate their new obligations under the Medical Waste Regulation, assess the minimum standards that they have to comply with and evaluate whether their activities of collection, transportation, temporary storage and disposal of medical waste are in line with the new regulation.
By Hakkı Can Yıldız, Senior Associate, and Can Sozer, Senior Associate, Baker McKenzie