Medical waste is a subset of wastes generated at health care facilities, such as hospitals, physicians’ offices, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary hospitals/clinics, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories.
Biohazard waste, also called infectious waste or biomedical waste, is any waste containing infectious materials or potentially infectious substances such as blood. Of special concern are sharp wastes such as needles, blades, glass pipettes, and other wastes that can cause injury during handling.
Items that can induce subdermal inoculation of infectious agents or that can easily penetrate the skin, puncture waste bags and cardboard boxes, sharps that have been used or are intended to be used in human or animal patient care or in medical, research, or industrial laboratories, including hypodermic needles, syringes, Pasteur pipettes, capillary tubes, broken glass from the laboratory including slides and slide covers, razor blades, and scalpel blades.
Sharps require special handling and packaging under both OSHA and DOT. Be sure to refer to your state’s guidelines when identifying what items are classified as sharps. There is confusion that often needleless injection devices, heel lancers and retractable or needles destruction technologies are considered sharps as well.
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