Contaminated Medical Waste
Medical wastes can be categorized as infectious or
noninfectious. Infectious wastes include human or biological
waste and any items that may be contaminated with pathogens.
Noninfectious--but still hazardous--wastes include toxic
chemicals and flammable and/or explosive waste.
Any biomedical waste which is generated requires disposal.
Much of the waste is hazardous and must be packaged,
transferred, and disposed of properly to protect the persons
handling it and the environment.
INFECTIOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN
This plan has been developed to maintain compliance with
state and local regulations. This plan will assist in
- Designation of waste that should be managed as
- Segregation of infectious waste from noninfectious
- Packaging, storage, treatment, and disposal of
- Planning for contingency measures in emergency
- Staff training.
1. Types of Infectious Waste
Infectious wastes may be classified as isolation wastes,
cultures and stocks of infectious agents, and associated
biological products and human blood, pathological wastes,
contaminated sharps, body parts, and/or miscellaneous
contaminated wastes. The primary types of wastes are:
A. Biomedical waste which includes any solid or liquid
waste which may present a threat of infection to
humans, including nonliquid tissue, body parts,
blood, blood products (serum, plasma and other blood
products), and body fluids from humans; and
laboratory wastes which contain human disease-causing
agents. The following are also included:
i. Used materials saturated, soaking or dripping
with blood, blood products, body fluids, or
excretions or secretions contaminated with
ii. Non-absorbent, disposable devices that have been
contaminated with blood, body fluids or,
secretions or excretions visibly contaminated
with blood, but have not been treated by an
B. Pathological waste including tissue, organs, body
parts, and body fluids that are removed during
surgery. Body fluids are those fluids which have the
potential to harbor pathogens, such as human
immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus and
include blood, blood products, lymph, semen, vaginal
secretions, cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural,
peritoneal, and pericardial and amniotic fluids.
Body excretions such as feces and secretions
including nasal discharges, saliva, sputum, sweat,
tears, urine, and vomitus shall not be considered
biomedical waste unless visibly contaminated with
C. Contaminated sharps are hypodermic needles, syringes,
Pasteur pipettes, broken glass, and scalpel blades.
These items should be considered infectious wastes
because of the possibility of contamination with
D. Miscellaneous wastes that are not designated as
infectious should be assumed to be infectious and
should be managed as such to maintain consistent
levels of protection for both the environment and for
workers handling these wastes. Miscellaneous wastes
include those from contaminated equipment.
E. Contaminated equipment refers to discarded equipment
and parts that are used in patient care, medical and
industrial laboratories, research, and the production
and testing of certain pharmaceuticals.
2. Identification and Point of Generation of Biomedical
The types of infectious waste generated include
biomedical waste, pathological waste including body
fluids, miscellaneous wastes, and contaminated
equipment. Such infectious waste is generated in all
patient areas and in the toilet facilities. Infectious
waste, when identifiable, is immediately segregated from
general office waste at the point of origin. Waste which
is doubtful for contamination, thereby falling under the
definition of infectious waste, must be considered as
contaminated and segregated as such into the appropriate
biohazard container--sharps container or red bag.
3. Treatment and Disposal Methods
Several methods are used for infectious waste treatment,
depending on the type of waste material. These treatment
methods include steam sterilization, thermal
inactivation, chemical disinfection, and removal by a
qualified waste disposal contractor. After treatment,
the wastes or their ashes can be disposed of by
discharge into sanitary sewer systems (for liquid or
ground-up waste) or burial in sanitary landfills as
approved by the governing legal jurisdiction.
We maintain a contract for transport from the site of all
contaminated waste not treatable on-site. Contractor
assumes responsibility for compliance with state and
Federal regulations referable to terminal disposal of
4. Steam Sterilization (Autoclaving)
Steam sterilization (autoclaving) involves the use of
saturated steam within a pressure vessel at temperatures
high enough to kill infectious agents in the waste. This
method of processing waste is not used by this facility.
5. Separation of Infectious and Noninfectious Wastes
Infectious and noninfectious wastes should be separated
at the point of generation. If the infectious waste
contains noninfectious hazards, it should be identified
and subjected to additional treatment.
Infectious waste should be discarded into clearly
identifiable containers or plastic bags that are
leakproof and puncture-resistant. Red bags and labels
are usually used for identification of infectious waste.
The containers should also be marked with the universal
symbol for biological hazards.
Packaging/Containment: General Handling of Containers
Infectious wastes should be contained from the point of
origin to the point at which they are no longer
infectious. The packaging should be appropriate for the
type of waste involved; it must endure handling, storage,
transportation, and treatment.
A. Liquid infectious wastes can be placed in capped or
tightly stoppered bottles or flasks.
B. Solid or semisolid wastes may be placed in plastic
bags, but the following precautions must be
i. Only tear-resistant bags are permitted.
ii. Sharps must be placed in impervious, rigid,
puncture-resistant containers made of rigid
plastic or similar materials.
iii. Bags must not be loaded beyond capacity, weight
iv. Bags should be protected from coming into
contact with sharp external objects.
v. Filled red bags shall be sealed at the point of
original, prior to removal from those
locations. ('Sealed' is defined as: tied or
otherwise secured to prevent leakage or
expulsion of contents.)
vi. All filled red bags and sharps containers shall
be transferred to the storage area.
vii. When handling or transporting plastic bags of
infectious waste, care must be taken to prevent
tearing the bags.
Sharps must be placed in an approved sharps
i. Prior to putting sharps containers into use,
tops must be securely snapped or affixed into
place. Once filled, the cover or lid of the
container shall be securely closed, in
accordance with the manufacturer's
ii. Sharps containers shall never be filled above
the 'full line'.
iii. Sharps containers shall be kept secure and out
of the reach of small children and unauthorized
iv. Sharps containers may be kept until full to
the 'full-line' provided that no soft or non-
biomedical waste are contained within.
D. Spills of biomedical waste shall be handled via the
i. Persons cleaning spills of biomedical waste are
to wear appropriate personal protective
ii. The contents of the spill shall be removed by
mechanical means (tongs, dust pan and broom,
etc.); such contents are never to be gathered
using hands--even when wearing protective
iii. All surfaces contaminated with spilled or
leaked biomedical waste shall be cleaned with a
solution of industrial strength detergent (such
as Cavicide) before being disinfected with a
solution of 10% chlorine bleach.
Any cloths used in cleanup shall be disposed of
in the red bag and handled as though containing
7. Handling and Transportation
On-site biomedical waste is stored in a sanitary
condition in a vermin-free area.
When waste is to be moved about for treatment or storage,
special handling or packaging is necessary to keep bags
intact and to ensure containment of the waste. The
following precautions should be maintained:
A. Containers of sharps must be placed within a rigid or
semi-rigid container such as a cart, bucket, box, or
carton lined with a plastic bag. Recyclable
containers and carts that are used repeatedly for
transport and treatment of bagged waste should be
disinfected after each use. Single-use containers
should be destroyed as part of the treatment process.
B. Containers should be covered with the lids during
transport. Infectious waste shall not be compacted
on-site. This process could damage the packaging and
disperse the contents of the package.
C. Transport containers, usually 30-gallon boxes, shall
be used for in-facility storage of biomedical waste
before transport; such containers shall be sealed
prior to transport to the exterior storage
container. Extra boxes are stored in the facility
for use as necessary.
8. Exterior Storage
Infectious waste should be stored for a minimum amount of
time. Prior to storage it should be packaged securely
enough to ensure containment of the waste and to prevent
penetration by rodents and vermin.
Infectious waste should be discarded into clearly marked
containers that are puncture resistant and leak-proof.
Red bags and/or labeling are usually used to designate
infectious waste. The containers should also be marked
with the universal symbol for biological hazards.
Limited access to any storage area is a must. The
universal biological hazard symbol should be posted on
the storage area door, waste containers, freezers, or
refrigerators. A sign with the words warning of the
infectious waste hazard is also recommended.
Containers for biohazardous material should be a
designated, distinctive color.
9. Records and Training
Records relating to handling and transport of biomedical
waste shall be maintained in the administrative offices
for at least three years. These records may consist of
pickup service manifests, receipts, and other documents.
Training program materials will be maintained as a part
of these records.
All employees shall be trained as a part of the
orientation process and annually on procedures for
handling and transport of biomedical waste. Formal
training, will be held annually. A listing of
employees who attend each training program will be
maintained. The program will cover all pertinent
components of this written plan.
Approved By Governing Board