What is a pre acceptance audit?

It is a tool that will enable you and your waste contractor to understand the nature and composition of the waste streams produced within your organisation.

Why do I need to complete an audit?

In addition to ensuring compliance with the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations, there are several benefits to following best practice and undertaking thorough pre-acceptance waste audits, most importantly the human health and environmental benefits. For example, audits can help to identify specific locations where potentially hazardous wastes are being wrongly assigned to a bin (e.g. medicinal sharps being placed in clinical waste bags). By identifying any potentially incorrect segregation, harm to employees and contractors can be prevented. The environmental benefits can also be significant, for example, by preventing inappropriate wastes being sent for disposal when alternative recovery options are available. Significant cost savings can also be realised through the correct segregation and classification of healthcare and clinical wastes.

How often should we audit?

This is dependent upon activities that produce the waste and the amount of waste generated by these activities on your premises.

What is covered within the audit?

The main body of the audit covers waste handling practices, documentation, signage and labelling of bins and containers, and the levels of knowledge and training amongst staff. The exact audit content depends on the type of site you run and who you work for.

Who can undertake the audit?

Audits can be completed by staff internal to the organisation being audited or external expertise may be used, including a representative of the waste contractor or by third party healthcare waste management auditor.

Why am I being visited for an audit?

Under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR), sites producing small amounts of clinical waste only need to be visited by an external person once every four years. Essentia provide the external auditing service as part of their larger contractual agreements for waste management. Sites are chosen at random on a four-year rolling programme to ensure all sites are audited correctly. Larger sites such as health centres receive an annual visit as per legislative requirements because the quantities of clinical waste tend to be significantly higher.

Where do I get my log in details?

If you have forgotten your password please use the password reset function on the auditing tool website. If you have not been sent log-in details, please contact the environmental services team and they will grant you access to the site.

How do I undertake the audit?

Visit each room and ask yourself, the following questions Have sharps containers been signed and dated on assembly? Have sharps containers been correctly assembled? Are full sharps containers permanently sealed before being placed in the storage area? Are there posters or guides near containers to advise staff on the correct segregation? Are bins colour coded to match the waste type (i.e. orange lidded pedal bins or orange bag waste)? Are any containers (bags/sharps containers) over filled? Are all bags suitably sealed (i.e. knotted or tied with a tag)? Are there general waste bins available in the area? (black, clear and recycling). Are any of the bins over flowing in any of the areas (a sign of more containment needed or a review of how often the bins are emptied?) Are waste storage carts locked and in a secure area?

Do I have to complete the audit in one go?

The audit can be saved at any point for you to return to at a later date. Please note you cannot view the audit report until you have submitted the audit. Once submitted, the audit cannot be edited. Also the audit cannot be submitted until all questions are answered.

I don’t understand a question being asked, how can I find out more?

Each question has a small question mark icon next to it. By simply hovering your cursor over this icon this will reveal help text on the right hand side of the screen.

Who do I contact if I have a query about the audit?

Your first port of call for any information regarding this audit is the Essentia Environmental Services Team. They can be reached by email at environmental@swlondonssp.nhs.uk or by phoning 020 8254 8337.

What is a hazardous waste consignment note?

This is the paper work produced by either yourself or your waste contractor recording the movement of waste from your premises to the waste contractor’s care and ultimately to the final site of destruction or treatment. It describes: The premises The waste The waste codes The processes that produced the waste How it is packaged for transport How much waste is being removed, etc This document will be signed by your representative and your waste contractor’s representative. You retain a copy of this and it should be retain for inspection by the Environmental Agency (EA) or other authorised authorities for at least three years. You should also receive a completed copy of this document (section E) back from your contractor and this should be retained.

What happens to me if the audit shows that I am doing something wrong?

Whether you are conducting a self-audit or being visited, you will have access to the report generated through the Essentia Environmental Auditing Tool (EAT) once the audit is complete. The feedback report contains recommended actions for your site to implement to ensure on-going compliance and best practice. The main purpose of this tool is to enable you and your waste contractor to identify the appropriate way to manage your waste. If you are doing something seriously wrong either, the audit tool will identify it, or your waste contractor / manager may contact you with advice.