Each state in the United States governs the regulations for medical waste generated in their state. The guidelines often involve multiple agencies that create strict rules for defining medical waste and the handling, storage and disposal of medical waste. Part 138, Medical Waste, of the Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, as amended, regulates the generation, storage, treatment, and disposal of medical waste. The MWRA purpose is for the prevention of public health risks that are associated with the exposure to untreated medical waste and through pollution prevention, preserve Michigan’s environment. Medical waste is any material that contains or has been exposed to any tissue or bodily fluid that could be potentially infectious to humans, the community, or the environment. State organizations work in tandem with any federal and state organizations such as OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) and DOT (Department of Transportation) to maintain the safety and health of people and the planet with proper handling and disposal of medical waste.
The state of Michigan requires that all healthcare facilities that generate medical waste must register with the Department and pay the registration fee. Once the registration is complete, the Department will supply a certificate of registration to the facility that is valid for three years. There is also a requirement that the facilities have a written medical waste management plan that contains all of the detailed information that relates to the handling of all of the medical waste that is generated at the site, as well as the storage, decontamination, and disposal, whether in-house incineration or transported off-site for disposal/treatment.
The state of Michigan recognizes the following as medical waste, which is any of the following that are not generated from a household, home for the aged, farm or other agricultural business or a home health care agency:
While a majority of the medical waste is generated within the healthcare industry, there are other types of organizations and businesses that generate medical waste. Medical waste can be generated in any facility that has exposure to human or animal blood or tissues that could have infectious contaminants. Facilities can be individual businesses such as: Physician’s offices, veterinary clinics, tattoo parlors, body piercing, dental offices, pharmacies, and mortuaries. Midsized organizations that generate medical waste can include blood banks, university and scientific research and laboratories, the coroner, nursing homes, pharmaceutical laboratories, and multi-physician clinics. Hospitals are some the largest institution type that generates medical waste.
If the medical waste is to be disposed of with a licensed medical waste disposal company off-site, the following procedures must be followed:
On-site incineration of medical waste requires that the following procedures be followed:
Most healthcare organizations hire a professional and licensed medical waste management company to pick up and dispose of the various types of medical waste, based on the state requirements. Sec. 13821 Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Resource Management Division, Medical Waste Public Act and Rules Governing Disposal of Medical Waste states:
“A producing facility that transports medical waste off the premises of the producing facility shall package the medical waste in the following manner: – 6 – (a) Sharps that are not ground or incinerated as described in section 13811(d) shall be contained for disposal in individual leakproof, rigid, puncture-resistant containers that are secured to preclude loss of the contents. In addition, a container used to store or transport a number of individual sharps containers shall be leakproof. These containers shall be conspicuously labeled with the word “sharps”. Sharps that are contained pursuant to this subdivision may be disposed of as solid waste pursuant to part 115 (solid waste management) of the natural resources and environmental protection act, Act No. 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.11501 to 324.11549 of the Michigan Compiled Laws. However, sharps shall not be compacted or handled during transport in a manner that will result in breakage of a sharps container. (b) Medical waste other than sharps shall be contained in bags other than body pouches or other containers that are impervious to moisture and have a strength sufficient to resist ripping, tearing, breaking, or bursting under normal conditions of usage or handling. The bags or containers shall be secured so as to prevent leakage during storage, handling, or transport.”
Each type of medical waste container is to be separated and labeled with their individually recognized labels, while being placed in locations that cannot be accessed by the general public, patients, or any unauthorized staff. The segregated area will only be accessible by staff placing containers waiting to be picked up by a licensed waste management disposal company or in-house trained incineration staff.
Parent page – Medical Waste Disposal
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