Biohazards are materials that can cause or contribute significantly to an increase in mortality or to an increase in serious, irreversible or disabling diseases. These materials can be found in hospitals, doctors' offices, and even in the event of a homicide, suicide or serious accident. It is essential to understand the regulations and procedures for proper disposal of biohazardous waste. At a minimum, all biohazardous waste must be labeled with the universal biohazard symbol and the word “Biological hazard”.
In the State of Massachusetts, biohazardous waste is governed by regulation 105 CMR 480 of the Department of Public Health, “Storage and Disposal of Infectious or Physically Hazardous Medical or Biological Waste”, Chapter VIII of the State Health Code. If it contains animal corpses, parts, handkerchiefs or bedding, a yellow sticker must be affixed that says “for pathological purposes only” or “only for incineration”.
Biologically hazardous liquid wasteincludes all blood and liquid waste from humans or animals, and all other biohazardous liquid waste (such as microbial cultures). All liquids must be absorbed in a solid medium before being placed in garbage containers or can be disposed of through the sanitary sewer.
Biohazardous solid waste includes microbial agents, tissue culture and contaminated material (such as Petri dishes, pipettes, contaminated glass, etc.). Laboratory workers who process biohazardous waste in a steam autoclave should receive appropriate biosafety training and follow the procedures described in the Biohazardous Waste Disposal Plan. These materials are collected in red biohazard bags that are double coated and placed in cardboard boxes. When the bag is full or has been autoclaved, place the solid waste in regulated cardboard boxes for medical waste that are lined with a red biohazard bag. In the event of a homicide, suicide or serious accident in which a significant amount of blood has been shed, a bioremediation company can help clean the site, eliminate waste and thoroughly disinfect the area.
Non-compliance with regulations can entail strict penalties for each crime of inadequate disposal of biohazardous waste, with significant financial repercussions. It is essential to understand the regulations and procedures for proper disposal of biohazardous waste. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of what biohazards are and how they should be disposed of safely and responsibly.