Companies and organizations that produce biohazardous waste are required by law to comply with proper identification, handling, and disposal of the waste. While federal guidelines have been established, there are often additional local and state laws for compliance and each organization must be knowledgeable of all laws or face fines or potential closure.
Biohazard waste management covers a number of subtopics which also includes either federal or state OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training of staff for handing, identification, and disposal of biohazardous waste. Additional compliance requires contracting with a licensed and trained waste disposal company and maintaining the required documents for tracking so that it confirms the waste has been rendered harmless and disposed of properly.
Biohazardous waste is identified as any type of waste that can be potentially infectious to humans, animals, the community, and the environment.
Although a majority of biohazardous waste is created within medical organizations, there are many types of facilities that can generate this type of waste. They can include but are not limited to: hospitals, medical clinics, physician offices, dentists, pharmacies, veterinarians, research laboratories, funeral homes, coroners, body piercing businesses, and tattoo parlors.
There are six standard example types of biohazardous waste:
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) have identified four levels of biohazards
Each type of biohazardous waste requires complying with specific local, state, and federal guidelines for identifying, handling, labeling, storing, process for rendering harmless, and ultimate disposal.
Proper management of biohazardous waste is required by each organization or business that comes into contact with the waste and they are responsible for the waste in what is referred to as “cradle-to-grave.” This means that they are accountable for the waste from the moment of generation to the end process of proper disposal and compliance with all laws and guidelines of the waste.
While OSHA training is required in all states, some states also require additional and well-defined steps for those transporting biohazardous waste as well as specific and very detailed preparations and actions to be taken in the case of emergency situations.
Some states have established a preset amount and weight of biohazardous wastes so that they can be considered small amount or low volume generators, with slightly less restrictive fees required as well as allowing them to have their waste transported to a larger amount/volume facility for proper disposal.
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