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Biohazard Waste in Dialysis Office

Q: In our dialysis office, currently there are biohazard cans shared between two beds. When the first patient is taken off, their blood canister and tubing is put in the bin. The next patient is also removed and put in the same bin. This takes about 20-30 minutes time. Is it OK to leave in the bin until it is taken to the main biohazard container for this time frame? Also, is there an allowable distance for transporting these canisters by hand, like across the room, or 3 feet?

A: State laws vary, but generally, contaminated items can be kept in a biohazard container at least 7 days as long as they do not become putrescent. Certainly, I would not expect this to be the case within 20-30 minutes. When transporting containers there is not a stated distance however there are requirements for containers used to contain the biohazardous waste in order to reduce the risk of exposure during handling.

According to OSHA:

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) this standard;
-- Closed prior to removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.

As long as you meet these requirements you should be in good shape. For more information about biohazardous waste check out Tab 8 of the Quality America OSHA Safety Program Manual or Tab 5 of the Dental OSHA Safety Program Manual.

Posted by Quality America on February 15, 2008 | Comments (0)


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