A look at medical waste requirements in the state of Oklahoma.

Medical waste in the state of Oklahoma is managed by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Much like other states, Oklahoma has a stringent set of definitions outlining what is considered medical waste. Anything that contains an “etiologic agent,” or infectious substance must be treated as medical waste.  This includes cultures and stocks, live vaccines, human blood and blood products, untreated sharps, disposable materials that have come in contact with infectious materials, and contaminated carcasses.

Oklahoma’s Department of Health requires that hospitals in particular have an infection control program in place.  This is to ensure a sanitary environment and avoid sources and transmission of infections.  This includes having a plan and following the plan to the letter so that waste is managed, safe, compliant, and reduced.  Programs should have a chain of command, and have clear and concise steps for disposing of medical waste.

Medical waste storage in the state follows OSHA’s federal regulations, as the state does not have its own storage requirements.  This includes putting processed waste into refrigerated storage, at 45 degrees F, within 24 hours of delivery.  If processing has not occurred within 96 hours, waste shall be transported to an alternate permitted site.

In terms of sharps waste, facilities must place used needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needlesticks, cuts or punctures from loose sharps and must use an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container.

Medical waste must, like other states, be treated before it can be disposed of.  According to the state of Oklahoma, acceptable forms of treatment include incineration, microwave sterilization, or autoclaving.

Oklahoma is one of 26 states covered entirely by the federal OSHA program, which dictates how waste is stored, managed, and contained.  This includes employing the use of red bags for “red bag” waste, as well as providing ongoing training for staff.

Understanding federal, state and local medical waste laws and regulations is key to operating a proficient healthcare business or facility. How does your state measure up?

Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.

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Oklahoma Medical Waste

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