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Biohazard Waste Disposal for Facilities: Important Tips to Stay Safe

March 24, 2022

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Biohazard Waste Disposal for Facilities: Important Tips to Stay Safe

Biohazard Waste Disposal for Facilities: Important Tips to Stay Safe. Whether you’re a healthcare provider, office worker, or janitor, it’s important to understand the proper biohazard waste disposal procedures.

The infectious waste can be anything from bodily fluids to needles, and safety precautions should always be taken.

If not disposed of correctly, this waste can spread infection in humans and even affect the environment.

There are several effective methods for biohazard waste disposal. In order to ensure safe disposal and avoid any unwanted fines or regulatory actions, here are some ways to dispose of biohazardous waste properly.

What Is Biohazardous Waste?

The U.S. EPA states that in general, medical waste is healthcare waste that that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials and is often referred to as regulated medical waste.

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.

Important Biohazard Waste Tips to Stay Safe

All healthcare workers should know and observe the best practices for biohazard waste collection, storage, transportation, and disposal. Know the laws, classify, and separate all waste, and use a clear color-coding system. Don’t overfill containers and keep non-regulated waste separate to cut costs.

Know the biohazard waste laws. Waste from healthcare facilities is regulated by the states, the EPA, DEA, OSHA, the DOT, and other federal, state, and local agencies. Be aware of all laws before preparing, storing, or transporting waste.

Classify all healthcare waste. About 85% of medical waste is non-hazardous, such as sweeping waste or office trash. However, 15% is hazardous. To keep costs low, don’t put non-hazardous waste in with hazardous waste.

Separate waste. Separate waste by type, including pathological, sharps, chemical, and pharmaceutical. All regulated biohazardous waste should go in red bags. Sharps go in puncture-proof containers.

Use proper biohazard waste containers. Some waste can go into certified cardboard boxes. Other wastes go into special tubs. Some is even locked for transportation.

Prepare waste containers. Package all bags and containers by taping them for shipment. Then follow DOT waste packaging rules and weight restrictions. Store containers in a dry, secure area for shipping or pickup. Properly label all biohazardous waste.

Attach the right documentation. The correct documentation protects the waste disposal company, the shipper, and the healthcare provider. Completed paperwork must accompany every bag or container during transit.

Color code all waste. The WHO suggests a color-coding system that many facilities adopt. Make sure you understand the color-coding system of your facility.

Don’t overfill. Bags should be ¾ full at the most to reduce the chance of spillage. Keep containers covered, and seal them once they’re filled.

Keep a strict collection or shipping schedule. Waste shouldn’t be allowed to sit too long, especially in heat. Store medical waste in a cool, dry place out of the way of normal operations.

Use a trusted waste disposal company. The many regulations, from various state and federal agencies create complex regulatory issues, that your facility needs to understand to stay in compliance with state and federal laws. By using an experienced medical waste disposal company with decades navigating the regulatory waters can aid in a successful medical waste management program.


OSHA – Regulated Waste Accessed March 23, 2022.

Illinois EPA – Hospitals and Potentially Infectious Biohazard Waste Accessed March 23, 2022.

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