There are strict local, state, and federal guidelines regarding the correct methods of identifying, labeling, packaging, and proper disposal of biohazardous and medical waste. Any facility that generates these waste types are responsible for them in what is referred to as “cradle-to-grave.” This means that the facility or business is accountable for each step and final proper disposal, even after the waste is removed from the premises. Various counties and states have specific guidelines that may differ or be more restrictive than federal guidelines, including transportation by a licensed professional medical waste disposal company and the required documentation.
Some local or state guidelines may be more defined for the labeling, packaging, and disposal of biohazardous materials, including weight limitations and duration of time on the premises before required pickup.
Sharps are defined as any item that has been exposed to a potential infectious environment and could pierce the skin. Due to this particular danger, sharps should be placed in a puncture resistant container before placing it into a red bag. The red bag liner must be sealed or tied so that it prevents leakage, placed inside a container and taped or use a method that securely seals. The outside of the container should be identified with the universal biohazard label. Some local areas and states require an additional tag that identifies the detailed facility information as well as the medical waste transport company information. Sharps are typically destroyed through a process called autoclave, which places the sharps in elevated heat and pressure containment so that they are rendered harmless.
Biohazardous and medical waste are placed in a lined corrugated box that contains two red bags or to help to prevent odors, items such as carcasses can be individually bagged in red bags. The tops must be securely sealed by taping. The weight of the box cannot exceed the local or state requirements. The containers cannot leak, bulge, or be damaged. The container must have a universal biohazard logo or label. In some counties and states they require the additional step of having a label that says “Path Waste” as well as detailed information about the sending facility and the licensed company transporting the waste. This type of waste can be incinerated to render it harmless.
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