There are no OSHA guidelines for medical waste pick up by medical waste companies. Medical waste transporters are regulated by state environmental agencies, and they should possess state medical waste transporting permits/licenses. Out-of-state transporters must possess licenses from each state they operate. They are also mandated to carry insurance-liability and pollution insurance for a minimum of a million dollars for each vehicle.

Permits and Insurance Documents:

It is important, as generators of medical wastes, that dental, healthcare, and veterinary facilities examine permit and insurance documents before they contract the medical waste pick up to transporters. This exercise is to eliminate any potential liability arising out of improper disposal. Clinics must request transporters to issue manifests at the time of pick up and after the destruction of wastes. OSHA may not examine these documents since it's not within their jurisdiction once the waste leave the facility. It shows a commitment that the facility disposes of its medical waste timely and properly.

Waste Disposal:

Although OSHA does not stipulate any guidelines for medical waste pick up, OSHA according to paragraph (d)(4)(iii)(B) of the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, regulated waste shall be placed in containers which are:

(i) Closable;

(ii) Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport or shipping;

(iii) Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of this standard; and

(iv) Closed prior to removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.

OSHA's bloodborne pathogen standard underscores the importance of worker protection from bloodborne pathogens. Labeling the waste container with a color-coded biohazard symbol ensures a high degree of safety for employees. Closable containers ensure that wastes are not spilled during storage and transport. Medical waste collection, transportation, and disposal are regulated by the Department of Transportation and state environmental agencies - these are two powerful agencies that closely monitor the operations of medical waste transporters. DOT and environmental agencies are licensed to inspect the transporters to find out how, where, and when the wastes have been disposed of.

Additionally, if you are a remote facility, you are allowed by both federal and state environmental regulators to dispose of your waste by mail. Remote facilities often employ mail-in-disposal methods due to excessive cost associated with hiring a transporter to pick up wastes. Not all medical waste facilities can accept the mail-in method of accepting wastes - a separate permit is needed from the state to begin accepting wastes at their location by mail.  The company, for a fee, will supply the necessary containers and mail-in package authorized for use by the United States Postal Service. You must insist on destruction certificates of your wastes sent to you in the form of manifests once the wastes have been destroyed. If you have not received it after a reasonable period of time, please call the company and request the destruction certificates. Also note that healthcare providers located in cities and other urban areas can dispose of their wastes by mail, but it may be expensive. Hiring a medical waste transporter to pick up their wastes is the less expensive option.

About Us:

At Gamma Compliance Solutions, we come to work every day because we want to solve the biggest problem in regulatory compliance: helping you make sure you’ve met all the requirements. Over the years, we’ve developed different compliance packages to suit practices at any stage in the OSHA and HIPAA compliance process. We’ve designated this area of our blog to post important updates and share key resources and guidelines you need to best protect your employees and yourselves. In addition to checking this area of our blog, follow us on social media to receive notifications when we share important information.