Regulatory Requirements for Infectious Waste
In 1991, OSHA passed the Bloodborne Pathogen standard (29 CFR 1910.1030). The standard requires special containment for all potentially infectious wastes.
Containers used for storing contaminated sharps, as specified by the standard, must be color coded (red), labeled, be puncture resistant/leak proof, and closable.
Biohazard bags must only be used for infectious waste. The bag must be red in color and marked as infectious waste. They are not to be used for chemical waste, radioactive waste or regular trash. The bags must go through testing as outlined by the American Society of Testing (ASTM) for durability and puncture resistance. Care must be taken that the weight of the waste load not exceed the burst strength of the bag.
For large amounts of infectious waste, the preferred method of disposal is through incineration, generally by a third party contractor. Autoclaving is generally the method of choice for decontamination of small items known to be contaminated with infectious agents. A Biohazard bag will generally change color or have a special marking which is heat activated indicating the waste has been autoclaved. Autoclaved waste can be disposed of as general waste.
Our third-party contractor for incineration of infectious waste is Stericycle. If your department does not already have an account set up, please contact Cathy Pakiz in Purchasing to set up an account.