What Medical Waste Training Is Required (and How Often) For Staff

Trained healthcare employees who are responsible for the safe disposal of medical waste is a necessity for the safety of patients and staff.  But how often staff will need to be trained will depend on the task …

The EPA and OSHA have resources for healthcare facilities to create a training program that will ensure the safety of workers.  Failing to follow protocol and adequately train staff can result in the spread of infection, compromising not only customers and patients, but the environment as well.  If you generate, transport, treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste, you will also need to be in compliance with federal EPA training requirements. 

While training is a requirement, when and how often should medical waste generators train their staff? It largely depends on the task.

Bloodborne Pathogen Standards

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), their most frequently issued citations within the healthcare industry involves infractions of the Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Standard.  All employees with potential exposure to blood or bodily fluids are required to train on BBP annually per federal OSHA regulation.

Transportation Training

Current U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations require initial and recurrent training of all employees who perform work functions covered by the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), which includes medical waste. Any employee whose work directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety, specifically individuals who generate and offer waste for transport or sign waste manifests, is required to complete training per federal law.  This training is required once every 3 years.

HIPAA Training

HIPAA training is mandatory for anyone who comes into contact with protected health information (PHI).  This includes doctors, dentists, nurses, receptionists and part-time employees/interns.  PHI is prevalent in medical waste such as specimen cups, IV bags, and blood collection vessels.

OSHA Compliance Training

Annual OSHA training is mandatory for all medical waste employees. An OSHA compliance training program should include:

  • Safety Data Sheet (MSDS/SDS)
  • Safety Plan Builders
  • Safety Audits
  • Training, including Bloodborne Pathogens, Hazcom, HIPAA, DOT, Fire Safety, and Electrical Safety.

The easiest way to ensure OSHA compliance is by accessing Red Bags’ compliance training portal.  Medical waste rules and regulations can be lengthy and confusing, not to mention they regularly change, so it’s difficult to manage the most current information. Red Bags’ OSHA Compliance Training takes the guesswork out of the process, ensuring the safety of you, your staff, and your patients.

By working with a provider who is both knowledgeable about applicable regulations, your practice is better positioned to ensure that wastes are managed in a safe manner which protects public health.

Want to learn more? Follow Red Bags’ blog to be up to date on the latest happenings in the medical waste industry.

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