Protect Central Sterile Supply workers from the biological, chemical, and physical hazards associated with handling, treatment, transport and disposal of medical, laboratory and other waste. These hazards include exposure to infectious agents, chemical reagents from laboratory work, pharmaceuticals (e.g., chemotherapy or radioactive drugs), needles and other sharps, materials contaminated with biological or chemical agents, and other materials that can cause worker illness or injuries. Several OSHA standards may be applicable and require protection from these hazards. See, e.g., OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) and PPE Standards (29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart I).
Safe handling, treatment, transport and disposal of waste begins at the point the waste is generated (i.e., the point of origin) and continues through final disposal. Create a waste management plan that addresses, as needed, both on-site and off-site management steps. Creating such a plan before waste is generated helps avoid potential exposure hazards, security risks, and storage problems and ensures that necessary contracts, permits, supplies, and equipment are in place. Also pre-identify waste management facilities prior to waste generation, as waste management facilities may have their own requirements that may need to be considered.
A variety of resources are available to help employers address various aspects of waste management, particularly as they relate to hospital worker safety and health:
- Hazardous Drugs. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Controlling Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs. OSHA.
- Safe Handling, Treatment, Transport, and Disposal of Ebola-Contaminated Waste. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Interim – Planning Guidance for the Handling of Solid Waste Contaminated with a Category A Infectious Substance. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
- Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities (2003). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).