A look at Ohio medical waste requirements.
Ohio medical waste disposal is regulated by the state’s EPA’s Infectious Waste Program. The agency oversees the generation, treatment, packaging, storage, transportation, and disposal of all infectious waste across the state.
According to the Ohio EPA, small quantity generators and large quantity generators have different disposal requirements. Small quantity generators are those that generate less than 50 lbs. of infectious waste per month, whereas large quantity generators generate more than 50 lbs. of infectious waste per month.
Infectious waste, or medical waste is broken down into several categories, including, but not limited to cultures and stocks, laboratory wastes, pathological wastes, sharps waste, animal waste, and human and animal blood specimens.
Large quantity generators must register with the state and, after receiving certification, must adhere to specific procedures, including explicit record keeping. Because of how the volume rule applies, large quantity generators must quantify their waste generation rate and keep records (in pounds) on a calendar month basis. Monthly generation rate logs, the filing of treatment shipping papers are all acceptable methods of proof of volume requirement. Large quantity generators must also hire only transporters who are registered to transport untreated infectious wastes.
Small quantity generators are exempt from certain regulations, but are held to the same standards in record keeping, such as quantifying the waste generation rate and keeping records for a calendar month basis.
Both large and small quantity generators must dispose of sharps in a suitable container that is rigid, puncture-resistant, leak resistant, and closed tightly to prevent loss of contents. Generators must also treat specimen cultures and cultures of viable infectious agents on the premises where they are generated to render them noninfectious, or ensure that the wastes are treated to render them noninfectious at a treatment facility.
Bagged waste must be red or labeled with the universal biohazard waste and constructed of material that precludes ripping, tearing, or bursting under normal conditions.
According to the state, all medical waste must be stored:
- in a manner which maintains the integrity of the packaging
- in a non-putrescent state
- in clearly marked areas
- in a storage area that is locked, and
- not for more than 35 days.
Acceptable treatment methods of medical waste include incineration, autoclaving, chemical treatment, and encapsulation.
Ohio is also one of 26 states covered entirely by the federal OSHA program, therefore OSHA rules (Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standards) apply to many aspects of medical waste storage, handling, and disposal.
How familiar are you with your state’s medical waste requirements?
Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.
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