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Biohazard Waste Definition OSHA

September 23, 2021

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Biohazard Waste Definition OSHA


OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is a large regulatory agency of the United States Department of Labor. Congress established the agency under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. President Nixon signed it into law on December 29, 1970, and OSHA was founded in April of 1971 by President Richard Nixon.

OSHA was established because of the economic expansion of the 1960’s. Rising injury rates led to political pressure for congress to create the OSH Act.  OSHA’s mission is to “assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance“.

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace and there is a whole section of the code of federal regulations that specifically applies to Bloodborne Pathogens 1910.1030.

Biohazard Waste

Biohazard Waste is a waste generally generated at healthcare facilities but can include places like body piercing and tattoo parlors, hospitals, laboratories, medical research labs, dental offices, doctors’ offices, blood banks, and veterinary offices just to name a few.

Biohazard waste can include things like human blood and blood products, human body fluids, microbiological wastes, pathological waste, animal waste, and sharps waste.

Biohazard Waste Definition OSHA

Biohazard Waste Definition OSHA. Biological hazard or BIOHAZARD means those infectious agents presenting a risk of death, injury, or illness to employees.

Another general definition is an item containing enough blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) to drip if squeezed or flake off if the substance is dry.

Biohazard waste is often interchanged with the term medical waste, infectious waste, regulated waste, regulated medical waste and biomedical waste. In most cases the underlying factor of the definition of all of these is “Any waste that could cause an infection in humans, like blood, human tissue or anything contaminated with bodily fluids” It’s likely to be infectious, or potentially infectious.

There are other types of waste generated in a healthcare setting which require specific handling, storage, and disposal processes. Some examples would be hazardous waste and radioactive waste.

In 1988 congress enacted the Medical Waste Tracking Act because medical waste was washing up on the shores of five east coast states, children were playing with vials of blood found in a dumpster, and the illegal dumping of bags of medical waste.

This was a federal EPA two-year program covering five states and ended in June of 1991. Since then, the states adopted their own medical waste requirements often covering several state agencies, EPA, DOT, and OSHA to name a few.

The federal EPA developed a model guideline for the states to follow copyrighted in 1992, after the federal program ended.

This is partly why we have so many names for medical waste.

In Indiana medical waste is called Infectious waste and is defined as “waste capable of transmitting a dangerous communicable disease”.

In Illinois Medical Waste is called potentially infectious medical waste. This is waste defined as waste generated in connection with:

You can see with just two state examples that we are talking about the same underlying waste type, but they have different names and definitions.

Most all states define medical or biohazard waste as.

Healthcare Waste Management has decades of experience servicing the Midwest and we run our own medical waste processing plant. We understand the language, laws, and regulations when it comes to medical waste disposal storage, transportation, and disposal regulations, should you have any questions or would like a quote on your services contact Healthcare Waste Management at 888-427-5797.

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