OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

December 13, 1994

MEMORANDUM FOR: FRANK STRANSHEIM

REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR

FROM: JOHN B. MILES, JR., DIRECTOR DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS

SUBJECT: CLARIFICATION OF CONTAMINATED WASTE LABELLING REQUIREMENT

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a clarification on labelling of contaminated waste in accordance with your request dated August 22, 1994.

As I understanding the issue, in the state of California the definition of regulated waste and contaminated waste are identical. It is consistent with the definition used in OSHA's Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens standard. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health states that, like the federal regulation, the containers regulated waste may be labelled or red bags or red containers may be used to store, transport, or ship regulated waste. The Medical Waste Act seems to go further in proposing that regulated/contaminated waste be both red bagged and labelled. This does not appear to be a conflict as much as it is simply more stringent.

The storage of regulated waste (and "contaminated" waste if the definition is identical) in the workplace do require a label except as provided in paragraph (g)(1)(i)(E),(F) and (G).

We hope this information is responsive to your concerns. If you have further questions, please feel free to call Wanda Bissell in the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8036.