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New York Medical Waste Requirements

A look at New York medical waste requirements.

Medical waste in the state of New York is overseen by the Department of Health, and has an active regulated medical waste (RMW) program which is overseen by the DOH, the Wadsworth Center, and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  New York was one of the earliest states to begin regulating medical waste, beginning in the early 1980s.

According to the DEC, RWM is defined as “…material generated in research, production and testing of biologicals or health care such as: infectious animal waste, human pathological waste, human blood and blood products, needles and syringes (sharps), cultures and stocks (microbiological materials)…”

The governing agencies each oversee specific areas of RMW.  For example, the DOH has jurisdiction for hospitals, freestanding diagnostic and treatment centers, whereas the DEC oversees all storage, treatment, and destruction processes.  The separation of management ensures that all generators are complying with New York State’s stringent laws for the sake of the environment and health of communities.

According to the DEC, RMW must be kept separate from other wastes in a separate area, and all containers must be labeled with a universal warning sign or the word “biohazard.”  The storage area must be ventilated, with access only granted to authorized personnel.

Employees who manage RMW onsite must, according to the state, be trained in accordance with the requirements of the OSHA Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens regulations.  However, despite New York being one of 24 states operating an approved occupational safety and health program, it only covers the workplace safety and health of public sector employees.  Private sector employees in New York are covered by Federal OSHA.

New York State’s RMW program requires that generators develop a plan that contains specifics, such as type of waste, in addition to training schedules, storage/containment procedures, treatment methods, disposal method, and emergency/contingency plans.  These detailed plans must be submitted to a local DEC office and the DEC Division of Solid & Hazardous Materials so that they can be considered for approval.  Permits are required prior to treatment of medical waste, and approved treatments include autoclaving and incineration.  Chemical disinfection and microwaving are also approved as “alternative” methods of treatment.

New York State’s laws on RMW have seen a lot of changes over the years, and as such, its solid waste management regulations have been under careful scrutiny of local lawmakers.  Stay tuned for a peek at New York State’s proposed changes to its solid waste management regulations.

RedBags.com is the expert in New York state medical waste and can help your facility get a better understanding of New York’s many regulations and requirements for medical waste.

Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.

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