Medical Spas: What OSHA, HIPAA, and Medical Waste Requirements Say

While not your typical spa, med spas offer a place for rejuvenation and relaxation with a little bit more.  These facilities are held to the same laws of any other medical waste generator, and here’s why…

There is a growing demand in the spa industry that goes above and beyond massages and pedicures; nowadays, many clinics are opening medical spas – hybrids of medical clinics and day spas – that help patients with cosmetic enhancements.  This includes Botox injections, skin rejuvenation, laser hair removal, laser vein therapy, collagen induction therapy, and medical grade peels.

A medical spa is less about relaxation and more about physical, visual results, but these treatments are given in a spa-like environment.  Some medical spas may also offer relaxing therapies, such as acupuncture, which require needles that go below the skin’s surface.  Many offer permanent cosmetic application, such as permanent make-up, which is administered similarly to a tattoo; a sterilized, disposable needle is used to implant colored pigment beneath the top layer of skin.

Because of the very nature of the services offered, medical spas are held accountable for their medical waste just as any other producer of medical waste.  This includes the implementation and enforcement of medical waste regulations as they apply to handling, storage, treatment, and disposal of biohazardous waste. OSHA, HIPAA, and medical waste rules absolutely apply here.

Med Spas and OSHA

Medical spa owners are responsible for the health and safety of their employees in the workplace. They must provide the proper training and supervision to allow employees to perform their duties without being exposed to any risk of harm.

For instance, the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard requires facilities to have in place an exposure control plan for blood or other potentially harmful body materials. Estheticians should wear protective gloves when performing procedures that would put them at the risk for exposure.

HIPAA at the Spa

Because medical spas deal with patient information, HIPAA laws apply to these practices. If a doctor or esthetician takes before and after photos, as well as photos used to document patient procedures, these are considered PHI (Protected Health Information) by HIPAA, and must be properly secured just as any other medical office.  Sending or receiving photos of clients is an easy way to fall into HIPAA non-compliance.  HIPAA requires that electronic communications with any PHI be properly encrypted to ensure privacy.

Medical Waste Disposal

Most medical spas have at least one doctor, esthetician, and nurse on hand, all of which must be knowledgeable in medical waste removal procedures.

Medical spas deal with a lot of sharps waste, which is a term applied to objects such as needles and scalpel blades.  A sharps hazard lies in the fact that it is designed to pierce the skin.  Wastes containing both infectious material and sharp objects create particular hazards for anyone handling them or coming into contact with them.

Red Bags offers medical waste removal programs for medical spas, whether it’s needles, red bag waste, or any other medical waste.  We also offer an online OSHA Compliance Training program for all staff that work at medical spas for safety training and safety planning.

Contact Red Bags today to learn about all of our products and services, including the safe disposal of medical spa waste.

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