Workers in the facilities management area are involved in handling, treatment, transport and disposal of medical, laboratory and other waste and must be protected from exposure to biological, chemical, and physical hazards that may be associated with waste management tasks. 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.
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 can help avoid potential exposure hazards, security risks, and storage problems and ensure 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. 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 1910 Subpart I).
- 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. Guidelines also apply to waste contaminated with agents other than Ebola virus.
- 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.
- Medical Waste. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
- Management of Pharmaceutical Hazardous Waste. United States Environmental Protection Agency