A look at Louisiana medical waste requirements.

While some states have one governing body regulating medical waste, Louisiana offers three sources for generators of medical waste to refer to for rules, regulations, and protocols. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), and Occupation Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) all oversee medical waste regulations.

The DHH defines medical waste as “…waste considered likely to be infectious by virtue of what it is or how it may have been generated in the context of health care or health care like activities.”  This includes cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals, human pathological wastes including tissue, organs, body parts and fluids, sharps used or generated in healthcare or laboratory settings, and any other refuse which has been mixed with potentially infectious biomedical waste.

There is, however, some interesting exceptions to what’s considered medical waste: eating utensils, animal carcasses and bedding, and “very small quantities” of human or animal tissue, clean dressings, and clean surgical wastes from persons or animals not known to be infected, are not included in the medical waste definition.

Medical waste packaging protocols are very much standard; potentially infected waste must be packaged and contained in a manner that prevents exposure to the material. Liquids must be in a sturdy, leak-resistant container. Sharps must be in a closed, rigid, break-resistant, puncture-resistant container, such as a sharps container. Plastic bags and other containers must be clearly labeled, like red bags, and they must be impervious to moisture, strong enough to prevent tearing or bursting, and sealed before transporting.

Additionally, medical waste must be labeled “Potentially Infectious Biomedical Waste,” “Medical Waste,” or “Infectious Waste.”

Acceptable medical waste treatments include steam sterilization, incineration, thermal inactivation, chemical disinfection, irradiation sterilization, or other methods that change the biological composition of the waste, rendering it harmless.

Households and other small-quantity, non-healthcare facilities are exempt from these regulations.

Louisiana also requires that all employers except state and local governments be required to dispose medical wastes according to regulations of OSHA.

While each and every state varies on certain medical waste rules, the common threads can all be found in containment, storage, and treatment.

 

Are you familiar with how your state handles medical waste requirements?

 

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Louisiana Medical Waste

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