Blood is one of the easiest methods for infectious pathogens to be transmitted. Due to this fact it comes as no surprised that blood banks have very in-depth and serious lists of compliance requirements for handling, labeling, and storing everything that is associated with the blood collection process. Blood banks also make use of specific processes that involve blood products as part of the confirmation component before they can take blood from an individual. There are strict local, state, and federal guidelines for the collection and disposal of blood and blood products, as well as the requirement by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) for employee/staff training for handling, storing and disposal to ensure everyone’s safety.
Blood banks are under the guidance of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and are monitored to ensure that they comply with collecting, storing, and removing blood and blood products from their facilities. Blood banks require many procedures that include various instruments and materials that could be exposed to a bloodborne pathogen. The initial scan and samples of blood go through a centrifuge that separates the components that are transferable, the platelets which are tested for bacteria, as well as various tubes and containers that are used for testing. Every unit of blood that it donated has a number of tests performed to make sure that it doesn’t contain and disease and to establish blood type. All of the instruments and materials must go through rigorous sterilization and/or disposal processes.
Each level of donation of blood creates medical waste. The process of donating blood starts with a small blood sample that is tested. When the blood proves to be safe, the next level of collecting the blood involves tubes, needles, collection bags, and catheters. Each of these items are considered to be hazardous medical waste and is required to be stored, contained and disposed of according to the local, state, and federal compliance guidelines.
Sharps are considered to be any item that can pierce the skin and has been exposed to a potentially infectious agent. Sharps require extra steps for disposal as well as staff training for the safety of individuals for handling and storage. Containers and bags must be leak-proof and puncture-proof. Licensed and trained professional medical waste disposal companies will remove the sharps container and render the sharps harmless so that the residue can be disposed of.
Due to the potential for breakage, blood tubes are dealt with in a similar manner as sharps. The tubes are placed in puncture-resistant containers and stored so that no unauthorized persons have access.
While many states have their own OSHA departments, if there aren’t any specifically defined criteria, it defaults to the federal OSHA level. Collection and safety for blood banks include:
Autoclaving occurs in a closed chamber that used pressure and steam for sterilization. The high temperatures within the chamber are effective in dealing with microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria and are the best method of reducing sharps, medical equipment and tools to a harmless state.
Parent page – Medical Waste Disposal
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