Quick Guide to OSHA’s Medical Waste Compliance

Sanpro Waste specializes in medical waste management ensuring the compliant collection, treatment, and disposal of biohazards, such as biomedical waste, and sharps waste across the United States of America.


It is important to research and comply with the standards related to PPE, safety signs, hazard communication. A few examples of adhering to these regulations following color codes OSHA has set, using the hazard symbols approved by OSHA, and purchasing PPE that has been tested for protection, just to name a few.


The risks posed to healthcare professionals, patients, waste management specialists, and the environment are substantial, which is why the use, collection, and disposal of medical waste is closely regulated.


The following is a list of standards that must be followed by employers in order to keep the workplace safe and reduce the number of illnesses/injuries of workers. These standards are pertinent to most private-sector employers as well as some public sector employers.


  • Perhaps the most important: an employer must provide a workplace that is free from serious hazards as recognized by OSHA and effective comply with standards, rules, and regulations that the OSH Act has issued.
  • Provide workers with PPE (at no cost to the worker) that fits and offers appropriate protection.
  • Use color codes, safety signs, labels, and posters, to alert workers of potential hazards.
  • Have tools and equipment in the facility that are safe and properly maintained.
  • Post the OSHA poster in a prominent area within the workplace to ensure workers understand their rights to safe workplace.
  • Under whistleblower protections, employers cannot retaliate, punish, or discriminate against employees who file complaints.
  • Following an inspection with a compliance officer, employers must remedy the violations found in a timely manner.
  • When citations are issued from inspectors, these citations must be posted at or around the area that is in violation.
  • Employees have the right to access the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
  • Safety training must be provided in a language and vocabulary that employees can understand.
  • Develop, implement, and establish operating procedures and effectively communicate the requirements to workers
  • You must supply personal protective equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for the type and size of waste cleanup. The inclusion of gloves, gown, mask, shield, hair cover and shoe covers will minimize exposure to hazards that may cause serious workplace injuries or illness.
  • Use absorbents to contain bodily fluid spills and prevent these spills from splashing during handling. Just remember that absorbent materials must also be disposed of safely
  • Mitigate exposure to sharps. Beyond syringes, sharps waste includes scalpel blades, razors, scissors, x-Acto knives, and any other medical item that is used for cutting in a medical environment. It does not matter whether these sharps have been contaminated with biohazard material, they alone pose a risk and must be handled properly.


Glass which has been contaminated with a biohazardous material must be handled with the same care as needles and blades, even if unbroken. If the glass is uncontaminated, it is still often treated as a sharp, because it can break during the disposal process.


No matter what type of sharp it is, it’s very important to store them in the right specially-designed container. This will decrease exposure to a potential injury.


You must ensure you have completely decontaminated a compromised area in your facility, it’s necessary to clean a surface prior to disinfection. To do this you can simply use a product that has been designated as both a cleaner and a disinfectant. Just make sure the disinfectant is EPA-registered in your state.


Once waste material is contained, use safe and compliant disposal methods according to state and local regulations. Nothing sends up red flags quicker than sharps containers, red bags and spill cleanups that have been thrown out in the regular trash. This not only poses a health risk but can result in serious fines for your facility.


Do you need help managing your medical waste disposal? Sanpro Waste provides full-service medical waste management, removal, transportation and disposal of regulated medical waste.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you save more!