What Is Considered Medical Waste
BY Ronnie Garrett
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How is You Handling Medical Waste at Your Facility in Hornell, NY, 14843 – ACS Facilities Services
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This is the fourth of a four-part article on how to identify, reduce and dispose of infectious/medical waste.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration (OSHA) offers very specific guidelines on what falls into the category of “regulated medical waste” and what doesn’t. Here is a break down of those recommendations and how they should properly be disposed of.
Not Regulated Medical Waste — The following can be safely collected in clear trash liners:
• Paper and plastic wrappers, packaging, boxes,
computer paper, office waste
• Food products and waste (soda cans, paper cups/towels, plastic utensils)
• PPE, unless saturated with blood or other potentially
infectious material (OPIM)
• Empty IV bags, bottles and tubing (without needles)
• Empty urine and stool containers, Foley/catheter bags.
Stool and urine should be poured down the toilet
(includes stool and urine from an isolation patient)
• Disposable basins, bedpans, urinals
• Diapers, chux/bed pads (unless grossly soiled with blood or OPIM)
• Adhesive bandages
• Exam gloves
• Sanitary napkins and tampons (personal)
• Unused medical products and supplies
Regulated Medical Waste — Items listed here must be disposed of in properly labeled, red biohazard liners/containers:
• Items saturated with blood or OPIM (Semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and any body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluid)
• Containers, catheters, or tubes containing blood, blood products or OPIM
• Surgical specimens
• Dialyzers and tubing
• Microbiology specimens, used culture plates, tubes, bottles and devices
• Blood spill clean-up materials
• Needles and syringes, scalpel blades, lancets
• Glass pipettes, slides and tubes
• Broken glass
• Staples and wires (Cardio-catheter wires)
• Disposable suture sets and biopsy forceps