All Points Medical Waste Blog

Regulated Medical Waste: What does it mean?

And what belongs in the red bag?

Although most medical facilities spend their share of time training staff members about proper disposal of waste materials, it may surprise you to know that many items that don’t belong still end up in the red bag. And, it’s not uncommon for items that should be discarded in the proper waste bag or container to end up in the regular trash. To ensure your facility remains compliant, and avoids costly fines and endangering your staff and patients, here’s a quick overview of what belongs in the red bag and which waste materials are considered regulated medical waste.

Regulated Medical Waste

OSHA and the industry defines regulated medical waste as materials that contain enough blood or other potentially infectious materials with the potential of spreading bloodborne pathogens. Although this sounds pretty straightforward, there is still confusion as to which waste items fall into this category. Here’s a general list of items that are regulated waste:

  • Blood in blood tubes
  • Blood or other potentially infectious materials in suction containers
  • Items with dried blood that could potentially flake off
  • Blood soaked gauze
  • Bloody gloves
  • Needles, syringes with attached needles, dental carpules and other similar items
  • Pathological waste containing blood
  • Microbiological waste containing blood

Items that go in the red bags

Not all of the items in the regulated list above go into the red bags—although they are considered hazardous waste. Sharps, including all needles, syringes with attached needles, dental carpules and other similar items have their own waste disposal containers. Below are the materials that should go into the red bag:

  • Bandages that have been saturated with blood or other bodily fluids
  • Bloody gloves
  • Bloody gauze
  • Tubing with blood inside
  • Closed disposable sharps containers
  • Blood and bodily fluids

What doesn’t go in the red bags?

  • Regular trash
  • Loose sharps
  • Radioactive waste
  • Hazardous and chemical waste
  • Preservatives and fixatives

Managing your medical waste is a serious responsibility—and one that needs to be continually addressed to ensure safety and compliance. All Points Medical Waste can help you, not only by providing OSHA and FDA certified disposal, but also with training your employees on OSHA requirements and best practices. Give us a call today at 772.600.4885 or fill out or our online quote request for more information.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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