Florida Medical Waste Requirements

A look at Florida medical waste regulations.

Florida medical waste requirements are managed by the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Each agency governs different aspects of medical waste disposal.  The Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for biomedical waste incineration and final disposal, whereas The Department of Health has the authority for facilities that generate, transport, store, or treat biomedical waste through processes that are not incineration.

According to the Department of Health, there are approximately 42,000 facilities across the state that produce biomedical waste. In addition to healthcare facilities, this includes body piercing salons, tattoo shops, medical waste transporters, and medical waste storage and treatment facilities.

The state of Florida defines medical waste as follows:

  • any solid or liquid waste which may present a threat of infection to humans, including non-liquid tissue, body parts, blood, blood products, and body fluids from humans and other primates;
  • laboratory and veterinary wastes which contain human disease-causing agents; and
  • discarded sharps.

In addition to products that absorb the aforementioned, the list also includes  non-absorbent, disposable devices that have been contaminated with blood, body fluids or, secretions.

In the state of Florida, medical waste storage shall not exceed 30 days at the site of generation. The 30 day period begins when the first non-sharps item of biomedical waste is placed into a red bag or sharps container, or when a sharps container containing only sharps is sealed.

Where medical waste is stored but not generated, storage cannot exceed 30 days. The 30 day storage period begins on the day the waste is collected from the generator.

All medical waste must packaged and sealed at the point of origin in impermeable, red plastic bags, the only exception being sharps, which must go into a sharps container.

Medical waste generators can only negotiate for the transport of biomedical waste with a person who is registered with the department as a biomedical waste transporter.

For treatment, all medical waste must be treated by steam, incineration, or an alternative process that is approved by the state, which must occur within 30 days of collection.

Perhaps the most interesting regulation in the state of Florida is how funeral homes handle waste. Funeral homes that do not practice embalming are not considered biomedical waste generators, and are therefore not held to medical waste disposal requirements. Embalming is rarely required by law. The Federal Trade Commission and many state regulators require that funeral directors inform consumers that embalming is not required except in certain special cases.

The objective of state medical waste programs is to protect healthcare workers, environmental-service staff, waste haulers, and the general public from risks associated with potentially infectious biomedical waste.

Contact Red Bags today to discuss how we can help you comply with your Medical Waste and other state requirements.

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Florida Medical Waste

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