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How to Properly Dispose of Medical Waste

Healthcare professionals in educational institutions, such as school nurses, that treat and diagnose students are considered generators of medical waste. Any waste that is generated at a school must be managed and regulated as medical waste (Pennsylvania Department of Health). To ensure that you’re following proper procedures in your school, please read the guidelines below.

What is regulated medical waste?

According to the Healthcare Environmental Resource Center, regulated medical waste, also known as biohazardous waste or infectious medical waste, is the portion of the waste stream that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials, thus posing a significant risk of transmitting infection.

The following are considered to be regulated medical waste:

  • Liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM)
  • Contaminated items that would release blood or OPIM in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed
  • Items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling
  • Contaminated sharps
  • Pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM

Because of the risk of infection, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has provisions for the protection of employees during the containment, storage, and transport of regulated waste. You can learn more here.

How should medical waste be disposed of?

According to OSHA, waste must be placed in containers which are:

  • Closable
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport or shipping
  • Labeled or color-coded
  • Closed prior to removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.

To learn about the disposal of sharps containers, click here.

You can also click here to shop MacGill’s selection of biohazard and infectious waste products.

What should I wear?

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a standard operating procedure for persons handling medical waste (Pennsylvania Department of Health). Click to shop for gloves, personal protection kits and clean up kits.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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