A look at Utah medical waste requirements.
Utah medical waste is governed by the state’s Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste under the Solid Waste Management program.
Utah is very specific in how it defines and explains what medical waste is; instead of just referring to it simply as medical waste, the state identifies medical waste as infectious waste. The reason is that “Health Facility Waste” or “Hospital Waste” generally refers to all waste, biological or nonbiological, whereas infectious waste includes waste that is capable of spreading infectious diseases. Therefore, Utah defines infectious waste (medical waste) as “…a solid waste that contains or may reasonably be expected to contain pathogens of sufficient virulence and quantity that exposure to the waste by a susceptible host could result in an infectious disease.”
Utah takes its direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, as well as rules from several other states for its infectious waste management rules and regulations.
The Utah Infectious Waste Requirements apply to health facilities that generate more than 200 pounds of infectious waste per month. What are those requirements, exactly? It means these generators must prepare, maintain on file, and follow an infectious waste management plan and meet the requirements of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, place sharps in rigid, FDA-approved sharps containers and label them appropriately (using the universal biohazard symbol or indicating the contents are infectious waste), and protecting infectious waste from the elements so that it doesn’t pose a risk to the environment.
Small health facilities (small clinics, doctors’ offices, dentist offices, veterinary offices, etc.) that generate 200 pounds or less are not regulated by the Utah Infectious Waste Rules.
Transporters of infectious waste must also adhere to stringent DOT rules; the waste must be contained in a separate, fully enclosed leak-proof container within the vehicle compartment. Transporters must also provide training for drivers in waste handling and spill cleanup methods, and store waste no longer than 7 days without refrigeration and no longer than 60 day total.
There are many reasons that state governments pass and maintain different laws. In most cases, these differences have to do with the unique characteristics of one state’s economy, population or resources when compared to another state. When it comes to medical waste, many follow federal guidelines, as well as implementing their own requirements to protect people and the environment.
Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.
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