Blood Borne Pathogens / Bio Hazardous Waste
Fort Worth, Texas – December 12, 2011 – I spoke with an OSHA representative to clarify blood borne pathogens and bio hazardous waste issues. I felt it was important to share the information I gleaned from that conversation as it bears repeating.
Items that contain blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) may not be disposed in a regular trash receptacle. This means gloves used for patient examinations, bloody gauze, teeth. This also includes disposable garments when there is visible soiling. This distinction is important as it is not necessary to dispose of all disposable garments as bio hazardous trash. In fact, if it is not necessary to dispose of something as bio hazardous trash it is necessary to not dispose of it as such.
Also, I have learned the fines for disposing bio hazardous trash in regular trash OR disposing of non-bio hazard trash in the bio hazard receptacle is $9,500 per violation.
1) Obtain a covered trash receptacle with bio hazard label or red bag
2) Use bio hazard trash can for exam gloves exposed to blood (or OPIM)
3) Ensure non-bio hazardous trash is disposed in regular trash cans
4) Obtain colored gloves to help distinguish bio hazard from non-bio hazard. Use colored gloves for patient care and white gloves for disinfecting and cleaning purposes. Dispose of each in the appropriate receptacle.
5) Educate your staff on these distinctions
6) Enforce these distinctions with your staff
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