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Medical Waste Disposal for Blood Donation Centers

Medical Waste Disposal for Blood Donation Centers

Sharps are any item used in any industry in which there is a potential of exposure for the transmission of diseases that can pierce the skin. Sharps can include but are not limited to: hypodermic needles, broken glass or plastic tubes, knives, and scalpels, and any item that could be broken to cause exposure. Sharps are very high risk and are to be placed in a puncture-proof, leak-proof bag and then placed in a sturdy, leak-proof container that can be sealed. All bags and containers are required to have the universal biohazard symbol on them.

All Potentially Contaminated Items

Any item that has been used or exposed to the process of blood collection must be placed in leak-proof, sealed bags and then placed in sturdy, leak-proof containers that are sealable. All bags and containers are required to have the universal biohazard label on them.

FDA Standards for collection, storage and disposal

Facilities shall be maintained in a clean and orderly manner, and shall be of suitable size, construction and location to facilitate adequate cleaning, maintenance and proper operations. The facilities shall:

(a) Provide adequate space for the following when applicable:

(1) Private and accurate examinations of individuals to determine their eligibility as blood donors.

(2) The withdrawal of blood from donors with minimal risk of contamination, or exposure to activities and equipment unrelated to blood collection.

(3) The storage of blood or blood components pending completion of tests.

(4) The quarantine storage of blood or blood components in a designated location pending repetition of those tests that initially gave questionable serological results.

(5) The storage of finished products prior to distribution.

(6) The quarantine storage, handling and disposition of products and reagents not suitable for use.

(7) The orderly collection, processing, compatibility testing, storage and distribution of blood and blood components to prevent contamination.

(8) The adequate and proper performance of all steps in plasmapheresis, plateletpheresis and leukapheresis procedures.

(9) The orderly conduction of all packaging, labeling and other finishing operations.

(b) Provide adequate lighting, ventilation and screening of open windows and doors.

(c) Provide adequate, clean, and convenient handwashing facilities for personnel, and adequate, clean, and convenient toilet facilities for donors and personnel. Drains shall be of adequate size and, where connected directly to a sewer, shall be equipped with traps to prevent back-siphonage.[sic]

(d) Provide for safe and sanitary disposal for the following:

(1) Trash and items used during the collection, processing and compatibility testing of blood and blood components.

(2) Blood and blood components not suitable for use or distribution.

[40 FR 53532, Nov. 18, 1975, as amended at 80 FR 29895, May 22, 2015]

Storage and Disposal

Storage for all containers must be in a location that doesn’t allow any unauthorized personnel. The containers must be easily accessed by certified and licensed medical waste disposal companies. Containers should not be located in a place above the flow of general traffic where they could tumble or fall.

All blood contaminated items should be autoclaved, however some states have varying rules on preferred disposal methods.

Blood Donation Centers

Blood donation centers are critical for life saving blood needed for those with severe disease states, injuries, pre and post-surgeries and for plasma. However, blood is also one of the easiest methods to transmit bloodborne pathogens that can contaminate people, the community and the environment, and therefore the donation centers are held to high standards for collecting, storing, and disposal of blood. The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has established a strict set of rules and guidelines that all blood donation centers must comply with and each center is regularly monitored for compliance. Blood donation centers are required to abide by the “cradle-to-grave” concept, which means they are responsible for all blood and contaminated items from the moment they are exposed to the moment of destruction. Blood donation centers rely on licensed and certified medical waste disposal companies to remove all materials, treat and ultimately dispose so that they are no longer contaminated.

Blood Donation: 2-step Process

Donating blood requires that the blood donation center take a small amount of blood that they can test to assure that the blood does not contain any diseases that can be transmitted. This test creates medical waste from the blood and the needle(s) that is used to draw the blood.

Once the blood has been given approval the donation center can draw blood from the donor. This process creates additional medical waste in the form of needles, catheters, tubes, and collection bags; each of which must be handled and disposed of according to the FDA guidelines.

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