Medical Waste Packaging: Who Is Responsible?
On-site management of regulated medical waste is a multi-pronged issue, as there are state and federal regulations, all of which cover packaging, disposal, handling, and removal. Many states require that facilities that deal with medical waste have a plan to meet OSHA requirements, and with all of these rules and regulations in place, deciphering who is responsible for what can be confusing. When it comes to medical waste packaging, facilities must check with their respective state for the most up-to-date regulations, but many have common denominators that are the same across the board.
What is medical waste packaging and who is responsible for it?
Medical waste packaging and labeling in a facility that deals with regulated medical waste is the responsibility of the facility itself. Packaging includes sharps containers, biohazard containers, plastic bags, and reusable containers. Failure to comply with safe containment is not only an environmental issue, but a community health issue that can come with hefty fines.
Because of the nature of medical waste, it cannot be thrown in a regular trash receptacle. For sharps, the container must be rigid, leak-resistant, and puncture-resistant as not to spread infectious disease. Sharps containers must also be secured tightly.
According to the FDA, used needles and other sharps must be immediately placed in FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. It also says that sharps containers must be:
- made of a heavy-duty plastic;
- able to close with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid, without sharps being able to come out;
- upright and stable during use;
- leak-resistant; and
- properly labeled to warn of hazardous waste inside the container.
As with any package, one must not overfill! The FDA recommends facilities fill sharps containers only ¾ full to prevent injury.
With plastic bags, not all are created equal. Medical waste facilities cannot simply rely on old shopping bags or zipper-style bags to throw away waste. Medical waste plastic bags must be tear-resistant, and be red in color to distinguish it from regular trash.
Reusable containers are acceptable, but the container itself must be disinfected after each use.
Your best safeguard against non-compliance and maintaining community health is to work with a reputable medical waste removal company, such as Medxwaste.
Medxwaste disposes of hazardous materials generated by hospitals, nursing homes, dental clinics, tattoo parlors, and pharmacies, as well as many other types of industrial and commercial companies.
Because containing medical waste is a health and environmental issue, Medxwaste offers equipment to ensure that you’re keeping your medical waste where it belongs: in a safe, secure, and approved package for removal. We can provide bins, red bags, and sharps containers so you never have to worry about whether or not you are in compliance.
Medxwaste adheres to best business practices for the collection and disposal of medical waste and other hazardous waste.
Need help with a medical waste removal program for your facility? Contact us today for all of your training, equipment, and removal needs today.