A look at South Carolina medical waste requirements.
South Carolina medical waste disposal is handled by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The state has implemented an infectious waste program, which regulates generators and transporters of medical waste and covers the state’s 7,000 registered infectious waste generators.
South Carolina’s list of medical waste includes, but is not limited to:
- Sharps, which is any waste that may cause a puncture or cut
- Microbiological specimens, such as culture dishes, vaccines and other waste that has been exposed to human pathogenic agents
- Blood and blood products
- Pathological waste
- Contaminated animal waste
Not all generators are created equal in the state of South Carolina. The state classifies generators by the weight of waste generated in a calendar month. Generators are either small quantity generators, large quantity generators, or extra-large quantity generators and must register with the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Medical waste generators are required to segregate infectious waste from other waste at the point of generation, assure proper packaging and labeling of waste to be transported offsite, store waste properly, and manage infectious waste in a manner which prevents exposure to the public.
Sharps waste must be stored in rigid, leak-resistant, and puncture-resistant containers which are secured tightly. All other types of infectious waste must be placed, stored, and maintained before and during transport in a rigid or semi-rigid, leak proof container which is impervious to moisture, such as a red bag.
Labeling is also a strict requirement in the state of South Carolina. Medical waste must be labeled on outside surfaces with water-resistant and indelible ink so that it is readily visible with the universal biohazard symbol, the name or Department issued number of the generator, and whether it is an in-state or out-of-state generator.
Infectious waste must be treated by incineration, steam sterilization, or chemical disinfection. Once medical waste has been deemed harmless, the waste may be disposed of in accordance with state and federal solid waste requirements. Infectious waste created in South Carolina does not have to actually be treated in South Carolina. Any person or company that generates or transports infectious waste in South Carolina must be registered with the state.
South Carolina is also one of 24 states operating an approved occupational safety and health (OSHA) program, which means medical waste generators are held to the same federal standards as other states implementing OSHA programs.
Pollution affects everybody’s health. However, medical waste or biohazardous wastes are even more dangerous to the general public, which is why it is imperative that every state in the United States regulates and manages its infectious waste streams.
Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.
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