A look at Oregon medical waste requirements.

Medical waste in the state of Oregon is managed by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, and much like other states, it has developed similar protocols for managing infectious waste.

The state defines medical waste as such:

  • Biological wastes, which includes blood and blood products;
  • Cultures and stocks, which includes etiologic agents and associated biologicals;
  • Pathological waste, which includes biopsy materials and all human tissues, anatomical parts that emanate from surgery;
  • Sharps, which includes needles, IV tubing with needles attached, scalpel blades, lancets, and glass tubes.

Medical waste must be segregated from other wastes, with infectious waste contained in red bags or containers. These storage options must be made of materials impervious to moisture and strong enough to prevent ripping, tearing or bursting under normal conditions of use. They must also be sealed properly to prevent leakage or expulsion of solid or liquid wastes during storage, collection or transportation.

Sharps must be disposed of separately in a compliant sharps container, and per FDA rules, must be leak proof, rigid, puncture-resistant red containers that are taped closed or tightly lidded to prevent loss of the contents.

The only exception to the red bag rule is generators that produce 50 pounds or less of infectious waste in any calendar month.

Oregon’s treatment methods are rather status quo; pathological wastes shall be treated by incineration, with cultures and stocks being incinerated as well. Another acceptable method of sterilization includes autoclaving.

Because Oregon is one of 21 states operating an approved occupational safety and health program, it must adhere to federal rules that regulate the management of sharps, requirements for containers that hold or store medical/infectious waste, and the labeling of medical/infectious waste bags/containers, as well as employee training.

Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.

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