A look at West Virginia medical waste requirements.

West Virginia’s medical waste disposal is managed by the Office of Environmental Health Services Public Health Sanitation Division and outlines the specifics of how generators must treat and dispose of infectious waste.  In the state of West Virginia, medical waste is referred to as infectious medical waste (IMW) and this covers many different categories of waste.

Infectious medical waste, or IMW,  includes items such as cultures and stocks of microorganisms and biologicals, blood and blood products, pathological wastes, sharps waste, animal carcasses, body parts, bedding and related wastes and isolation wastes.  It also includes any residue resulting from a spill cleanup and any waste mixed with, or contaminated by, infectious medical waste.  Medical waste does not include human remains and body parts being used for medical purposes.

All generators of medical waste are required to develop an infectious medical waste management plan, which includes storage, treatment, and disposal.  Facilities which generate more than fifty pounds per month must submit a plan for review and approval, and also must apply for an annual permit.

Medical waste, if stored away from staff, must be locked up and labeled biohazard, with “authorized personnel only” signs posted.  If medical waste is located in an area where staff are routinely present, then the room does not require a lock, as staff presence provides security to the area.

Regarding sharps waste, the West Virginia Infectious Medical Waste Rule requires that sharps containers be snapped shut and replaced before the contents reach the full line indicated on the box.  There are no time requirements for sharps containers, they can remain in place as long as it takes to fill them.

Medical waste other than sharps shall not be stored for more than 30 days prior to transportation to an infectious medical waste management facility, even if refrigerated.  Additionally, hospitals and nursing homes are required to have biohazardous and regular trash removed from their facilities every day, or sooner if needed.

West Virginia’s regulations are not as detailed as other states, however the state is one of 26 states covered entirely by the federal OSHA program, which oversees many aspects of medical waste removal and disposal, such as containment, treatment, and storage.

Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.

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