The dangers of biohazardous waste can include the spread of infectious diseases to people, animals, the water, community and the environment. Biohazardous waste is defined as any kind of waste that contains infectious or potentially infectious materials. Biohazardous waste can be solid or liquid and be associated with any discarded items from bandages to body parts. While a majority is generated within the medical industry, there are other fields that can generate biohazardous waste including: veterinarians, research laboratories, funeral homes, coroner’s, tattoo parlors and body piercing companies. Those given a high level of attention as dangerous biohazardous waste include “sharps” which are any item that can potentially transmit infectious disease that can pierce the skin. Proper packaging, storing, labeling, transporting and disposal of all biohazardous waste is critical to maintain safety. There are local, state, and federal guidelines that have been established for biohazardous waste disposal and each state is responsible for compliance and enforcement. Professional licensed and trained medical waste disposal companies maintain knowledge and compliance with all laws for pickup, treatment and disposal of biohazardous waste.
All generators of biohazardous waste are required to put the waste in containers that are labeled, sealed, and have the universal biohazard symbol. These wastes can include any agent that could be infectious to humans, animals and the environment. The contaminants are placed in leak-proof, sealable bags that are then placed in containers specific to the type of waste. Sharps are also placed in bags that are puncture-proof and then into special sharps containers that are only 2/3 filled to avoid stabbing injuries.
Storage of all biohazardous waste requires that the labeled and sealed containers be kept in areas that are inaccessible by anyone other than authorized personnel, not be stored in pathways or near walkway areas, not be in an elevation with the potential to spill or fall over, and only be stacked with approved containers that have the ability for safe stacking. Various state laws limit the volume/weight of each container and there are specific requirements for liquid biohazardous waste.
Each type of biohazardous waste requires specific types of treatment so that it is rendered harmless and can be disposed of in a landfill. Treatment methods and locations are based on the individual state requirements.
Parent page – Biohazard Waste Disposal
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