3 FAQs Concerning OSHA's Rules for Regulated Waste

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Here are three frequently asked questions about OSHA's rules concerning regulated waste and the federal agency's responses to those questions.

 

Q: What does OSHA mean by the term "regulated waste"?

OSHA: The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard uses the term, "regulated waste," to refer to the following categories of waste which require special handling at a minimum; (1) liquid or semi-liquid blood or OPIM; (2) items contaminated with blood or OPIM and which would release these substances in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; (3) items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; (4) contaminated sharps; and (5) pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.

 

Q: How do I dispose of regulated waste?

OSHA: Regulated waste shall be placed in containers which are:

  • Closable;
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport or shipping;
  • Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard; and
  • Closed prior to removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.


If outside contamination of the regulated waste container occurs, it shall be placed in a second container. The second container shall be:

  • Closable;
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport, or shipping;
  • Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard; and
  • Closed prior to removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.


Disposal of all regulated waste shall be in accordance with applicable regulations of the United States, States and Territories, and political subdivisions of States and Territories.

Q: Do I need to autoclave waste before disposing?

OSHA: There is no specific requirement to autoclave waste before disposal. However, under the section on HIV and HBV Research Laboratories and Production Facilities, there is a requirement stating that all regulated waste from the facilities must be either incinerated or decontaminated by a method such as autoclaving known to effectively destroy bloodborne pathogens. In addition, research laboratories must have an autoclave available for decontamination of regulated waste while production facilities must have an autoclave available within or as near as possible to the work area, also for the decontamination of regulated waste.

 

Source: OSHA

 

Read more about OSHA:

 

- OSHA Guidance: 19 Best Practices for Employee Slips, Trips and Falls

 

- OSHA Guidance: 9 Best Practices and Guidelines for Contaminated Laundry Exposure Prevention

 

- OSHA Guidance: 6 Practices for an Equipment Hazards Prevention Program

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