Friday, July 25, 2014

Methods of Control

Housekeeping

Q35. What type of disinfectant can be used to decontaminate equipment or working surfaces which have come in contact with blood or OPIM?

A35. OSHA's position is that EPA-registered tuberculocidal disinfectants, diluted bleach solutions and EPA-registered disinfectants that are labeled as effective against both HIV and HBV as well as Sterilants/High-Level Disinfectants cleared by the FDA, meet the requirement in the standard and are "appropriate" disinfectants to clean contaminated surfaces, provided that such surfaces have not become contaminated with agent(s) or volumes of or concentrations of agent(s) for which higher level disinfection is recommended.
The particular disinfectant used, as well as the frequency with which it is used, will depend upon the circumstances in which a given housekeeping task occurs (i.e., location within the facility, type of surface to be cleaned, type of soil present, and tasks and procedures being performed). The employer's written schedule for cleaning and decontamination should identify such specifics on a task-by-task basis.

Regulated Waste

Q36. What does OSHA mean by the term "regulated waste"?

A36. The Bloodborne Pathogens standard uses the term, "regulated waste," to refer to the following categories of waste which require special handling: (1) liquid or semi-liquid blood or OPIM; (2) items contaminated with blood or OPIM and which would release these substances in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; (3) items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; (4) contaminated sharps; and (5) pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.

Q37. Are feminine hygiene products considered regulated waste?

A37. OSHA does not generally consider discarded feminine hygiene products, used to absorb menstrual flow, to fall within the definition of regulated waste. The intended function of products such as sanitary napkins is to absorb and contain blood. The absorbent material of which they are composed would, under most circumstances, prevent the release of liquid or semi-liquid blood or the flaking off of dried blood.
OSHA expects these products to be discarded into waste containers which are properly lined with plastic or wax paper bags. Such bags should protect the employees from physical contact with the contents.
At the same time, it is the employer's responsibility to determine the existence of regulated waste. This determination is not based on actual volume of blood, but rather on the potential to release blood (e.g., when compacted in a waste container). If OSHA determines, on a case-by-case basis, that sufficient evidence of regulated waste exists, either through observation (e.g., a pool of liquid in the bottom of a container, dried blood flaking off during handling), or based on employee interviews, citations may be issued if the employer does not comply with the provisions of the standard on regulated waste.

Q38. How should sharps containers be handled?

A38. Sharps containers shall be maintained upright throughout use, replaced routinely and not be allowed to overfill. When removing sharps containers from the area of use, the containers shall be:
  • Closed immediately before removal or replacement to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping;
  • Placed in a secondary container if leakage is possible. The second container shall be:
    • Closable;
    • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage during handling, storage, transport, or shipping; and
    • Labeled or color-coded according to paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard.
  • Reusable containers shall not be opened, emptied, or cleaned manually or in any other manner which would expose employees to the risk of percutaneous injury.
Upon closure, duct tape may be used to secure the lid of a sharps container as long as the tape does not serve as the lid itself.

Q39. Where should sharps containers be located?

A39. Sharps containers must be easily accessible to employees and located as close as feasible to the immediate area where sharps are used (e.g., patient care areas) or can be reasonably anticipated to be found (e.g., laundries).
In areas, such as correctional facilities and psychiatric units, there may be difficulty placing sharps containers in the immediate use area. Alternatives include using containers that are lockable or are designed to prevent removal of syringes while maintaining easy accessibility for discarding. If a mobile cart is used in these areas, an alternative would be to lock the sharps container onto the cart.

Q40. What type of container should be purchased to dispose of sharps?

A40. Sharps containers are made from a variety of products from cardboard to plastic. As long as they meet the definition of a sharps container (i.e., containers must be closable, puncture-resistant, leakproof on sides and bottom and labeled or color-coded), OSHA would consider them to be acceptable.

Q41. How do I dispose of regulated waste?

A41. Regulated waste shall be placed in containers which are:
  • Closable;
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport or shipping;
  • Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard; and
  • Closed before removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.
If outside contamination of the regulated waste container occurs, it shall be placed in a second container. The second container shall be:
  • Closable;
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport, or shipping;
  • Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard; and
  • Closed before removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.
Disposal of all regulated waste shall be in accordance with applicable regulations of the United States, States and Territories, and political subdivisions of States and Territories.

Q42. Do I need to autoclave waste before disposing?

A42. There is no specific requirement to autoclave waste before disposal. However, under the section on HIV and HBV Research Laboratories and Production Facilities, there is a requirement stating that all regulated waste from the facilities must be either incinerated or decontaminated by a method, such as autoclaving, known to effectively destroy bloodborne pathogens.

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