Part Three: What’s Going into that Red Bag?

Reducing Your Medical Waste Through RightClassificationSM – Part Three

In the first 2 parts (part 1, part 2) of this series, we defined Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) and discussed how it was regulated, contained and disposed. In the final part of this series, we will discuss what a facility can specifically do to reduce its volume of RMW through proper segregation (RightClassificationSM) and therefore reduce spending.

1. Review your policy.
Your medical waste management plan can be included as a part of your Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan or it can be maintained as a separate policy document. Regardless, make sure RMW is clearly defined and employees are able to access your policy for clear guidance. For example, if your policy defines RMW as “blood and other body fluids” instead of “blood and OPIM” (with the definition of OPIM included), employees and even trainers may become confused. In addition, you must follow what your policy states. So make sure your policy is not forcing you to “wrong classify” your waste and spend more money than necessary.

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Part Two: What’s Going into that Red Bag?

Reducing Your Medical Waste Through RightClassificationSM – A Three Part Series

In part one of this series, we discussed how OSHA defines regulated medical waste (RMW). In the second part of this series, we will address how to properly segregate, contain, and dispose of RMW.

Who regulates RMW disposal?

While OSHA defines RMW and regulates its containment and safe handling by employees, individual states, Department of Transportation (DOT), United States Postal Service (USPS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate the transport and disposal.

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Part One: What’s Going into that Red Biohazard Bag?

Reducing Your Medical Waste Through RightClassificationSM – A Three Part Series

Twenty-four years after the Medical Waste Tracking Act prompted the passing of state medical waste regulations, red biohazard bags are still being filled with trash. Granted, we seldom see pizza boxes or drink cans in red bags anymore, but we still see trash, such as dressings, gauze, gloves, test strips, urine cups, empty medication vials, table and tray covers, device packaging, tubing, pads, and adults diapers. Proper waste segregation (RightClassification℠) is crucial to assure proper containment and disposal of trash, regulated medical waste (RMW), and hazardous waste. Many reasons are given as to why these items end up in red biohazard bags, including:

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OSHA Compliance Quick Tips

In order to keep your workplace safe, it is important to maintain OSHA compliance. Keep reading to learn eight ways to stay compliant.

Tip: Make sure emergency exits are kept unlocked from the inside while employees are in the office. According to OSHA, a company was recently cited for an alleged willful violation. The violation included the employer’s practice of keeping an emergency exit door fastened with a metal bar during working hours.

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Bloodborne Pathogen Quick Tips

Tip: When documenting a bloodborne pathogen exposure incident, do not forget to document the circumstances surrounding the incident. This is not only required by the Standard, it helps to determine if policy was being followed and what might need to be changed.

Documentation must include:

  • Engineering controls and work practices in use at the time of the incident
  • A description of the device being used, including type and brand
  • Protective equipment being worn at the time
  • Location and procedure being performed when the incident occurred
  • Employee’s training status at the time of the incident

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