07/04/2012 01:18 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta needs to fix lax monitoring of medical waste disposal: auditor general

EDMONTON - Alberta's auditor general says health workers are doing a good job disposing of medical waste on a day-to-day basis, but overall management leaves a lot to be desired.

Merwan Saher (MUHR'-wahn SAH'-hehr) says he hasn't found any evidence of biohazardous waste getting into everyday trash at hospitals and other care facilities.

But he says monitoring and enforcement need a lot of work to ensure Albertans aren't put at risk and that taxpayers get value for money.

Saher says in his latest report that standards for labelling and storing medical waste vary from region to region — in one case dangerous chemicals were stored beside gasoline fuel tanks.

He also notes that Alberta Health Services is relying on the word of private companies about how much waste is being destroyed and how much it costs.

And Saher says there is no way to verify whether a private contractor destroyed the waste material properly.