Workers Describe Finding Medical Waste, Biohazard Material At Ohio State University Waste Facility

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UPDATED: Friday September 13, 2013 7:12 PM

Officials are digging through allegations of medical waste, biohazard materials and medical records being mishandled at an Ohio State University facility.
 
The allegations come from several temporary workers, who say they were hired to help the university sort through its trash and recyclables.

The work being done was part of OSU's “Zero Waste” program -- a study of how much of the school's trash could be recycled or composted.

The staffing agency says it was told the workers would be separating plastics and cardboard, but the workers say that doesn't begin to cover what they were asked to handle.

OSU's Solid Waste Management facility on Kenny Road was the site the temporary workers reported to Thursday morning.

10TV found workers there Friday. Workers described what they said they had seen.

"In with the trash, it was needles with the caps off, there was catheters, IVs," said a female worker.

10TV spoke with three separate workers who told very similar, very specific stories.

"The main thing I saw that disgusted me were the catheters that had been used, and some of them had blood and urine in them, and they were leaking out. It was disgusting," said a male worker.

"I've worked (in) waste management in Canal Winchester, and I've never seen nothing like that before,” said a second male worker. “All that medical waste and feces and stuff."

The workers spoke 10TV on the condition of anonymity out of fear of jeopardizing their employment.

They were asked to sort through the trash, separating it into bins.

They were sent by Minutemen Staffing Services, at the request of a company called Heritage Interactive, which was hired by OSU.

Along with the medical waste, they said there were medical files.
     
"There was some patient files in the papers. Some confidential patient files I seen I threw away,” said the first male worker.
     
"Like it had the person's name, why they were there, what they were being seen for, it had their insurance number and everything," said the female worker.

They say the supervisors with Heritage were well aware of what they were finding.

"The people at Heritage, they knew it was there because they had bins that said- signed ‘medical waste.’ There was actual bins that said ‘medical waste.’”
         
Managers at Minutemen Staffing told 10TV that they heard the same complaints from at least five different workers.

In response, Minutemen pulled all of its workers from the job.
     
Heritage told 10TV it had workers alongside the temps who saw no medical waste.
     
OSU says its procedures make what these workers describe impossible.
     
"I've been working for this place now for two years,” said the second male worker, “I've never walked off of a job. I knew within the first 10-15 minutes I was there I was leaving. Because it was just too disgusting.”

Asked what he would say to OSU staff who said this didn’t happen, he replied:  “You're lying. Flat out. You’re lying.”

A spokesperson from OSU declined to speak with 10TV on camera, but sent an email with a lengthy list of procedures and protocols in place to prevent this from happening.

Click here to read those procedures and protocols.

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