Note: Your progress in watching these videos WILL NOT be tracked. These training videos are the same videos you will experience when you take the full ProBloodBorne program. You may begin the training for free at any time to start officially tracking your progress toward your certificate of completion.

In this lesson, we'll cover what regulated waste is as defined by OSHA, along with some standard protocols for handling and disposing of it.

The OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard defines regulated waste as:

  1. Any liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material.
  2. Contaminated items that would release blood or OPIM in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed or rung out.
  3. Items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of flaking off and releasing these materials during handling.
  4. Contaminated sharps.
  5. Pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.

How to Dispose of Regulated Waste

Pro Tip #1: It's important to note that all properly labeled and bundled waste should be handled according to your facility's disposal procedures. It's also important to consider any state or local requirements that may apply to regulated waste disposal in your area.

Having said that, here are a few guidelines to follow when disposing of regulated waste.

Warning: While this should go without saying, never dispose of potentially contaminated waste into normal trash receptacles.

Regulated Waste Containers

All blood and other potentially infectious materials must be disposed of in properly labeled biohazard containers, in either a red bag or a predominantly orange or red container that has been imprinted with the biohazard symbol.

Regulated waste containers must be:

  1. Sealable. You must be able to completely close and seal the container.
  2. Properly constructed. The container must be able to properly handle its contents without fail.
  3. Leak-proof. The regulated waste container must prevent leakage of all fluids and materials while handling, storing, transporting, and shipping.

Sharps Containers

All items falling into this category – like needles, syringes, and razors – must be placed into sealable, leak-proof, puncture-resistant containers. The containers must also be properly labeled or color-coded.

Pro Tip #2: Regardless of type, all regulated waste containers should be routinely inspected and replaced, and they should never be allowed to overfill.

A Word About OSHA's Regulations

Since OSHA may be the reason you're taking this course, let's dig a little deeper into what the employer's responsibilities are when it comes to following those regulations.

Pro Tip #3: Safety is job number one. If you notice that your employer is falling short of adhering to guidelines or not providing everything on this list, you may want to consider asking someone.

OSHA regulations regarding bloodborne pathogens have placed specific responsibilities on employers for the protection of employees (like you). These include all of the following:

  1. Identifying positions or tasks covered by the bloodborne and OPIM standard precautions.
  2. Creating an exposure control plan to minimize the possibility of exposure and making the plan easily accessible to all employees.
  3. Developing and putting into action a written schedule for cleaning and decontaminating environments and work surfaces at the workplace.
  4. Creating a system for easy identification of soiled material and its proper disposal.
  5. Developing a system of annual training for all covered employees.
  6. Offering the opportunity for employees to get the hepatitis B vaccination at no cost.
  7. Establishing clear procedures to follow for reporting an exposure.
  8. Creating a system of recordkeeping.
  9. In workplaces where there is potential exposure to injuries from contaminated sharps, soliciting input from non-managerial employees with potential exposure regarding the identification, evaluation, and selection of effective engineering and work practice controls. (In other words, the feedback of those being exposed.)
  10. If a needlestick injury occurs, recording the appropriate information in the sharps injury log, including:
    a. The type and brand of device involved in the incident
    b. The location of the incident
    c. A description of the incident
  11. Maintaining a sharps injury log in such a way that protects the privacy of employees.
  12. Ensuring the confidentiality of all employees' medical records and exposure incidents.