Minnesota Medical Waste Requirements

A look at Minnesota medical waste requirements.

In the state of Minnesota medical waste is regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and many of the rules and regulations are similar, if not the same as many other states we’ve discussed.  The reason for this is many states adopt regulations based on federal laws so that there is a universal protocol for infection control and environmental protection.

Here’s some of the rules for Minnesota medical waste regulation.

Like other states, Minnesota requires sharps to be kept in rigid, puncture-resistant containers that have lids or caps that are designed to prevent loss or leakage of the contents.  Sharps must remain packaged throughout collection, storage, decontamination, and any handling processes that precede disposal.  Perhaps one specific difference in the state of Minnesota is the explicit labeling of sharps waste: containers must be labeled clearly “Sharps” in letters at least one inch high with a stroke width of one-eighth inch and with either the international biohazard symbol, at least three inches by three inches, or the words “Infectious Waste” in letters at least one inch in height with a stroke width of one-eighth inch.

Infectious waste, or red bag waste, must be contained in plastic bags that are impervious to moisture, and of sufficient strength to prevent ripping, tearing, or bursting.  Another interesting and specific requirement for red bag waste is all bags must pass a “165-gram dropped dart impact resistance test.”  While a federal requirement, it’s seldom mentioned in state regulation documents.  The test requires that a film bag shall meet an impact resistance of 165 grams and a tearing resistance of 480 grams in both parallel and perpendicular planes with respect to the length of the bag.

Medical waste must be stored in such a way that it is inaccessible to unauthorized persons.  Storage areas must be prominently marked with the international biohazard symbol and with the words “Infectious Waste” on or near entry doors.

Approved treatment for medical waste includes incineration, autoclaving, or other decontamination methods that have been approved by the commissioner for the decontamination of infectious waste.

Minnesota is also one of 21 states operating an approved occupational safety and health program.  Minnesota employers under the jurisdiction of Minnesota OSHA must comply with both the federal OSHA Standards adopted by reference in Minnesota and Minnesota Statutes and Rules.

Learn how your state handles medical waste requirements.

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