Whether you run a small clinic or a comprehensive hospital in Georgia, there are some overarching medical waste regulations that you'll need to abide by. Outside these state-specific regulations, there are also federal laws that apply to every state. Regardless, you need to be aware of (and working with people who are aware of) all these potential differences. This ensures compliance at all times and in all places.
Georgia Medical Waste Regulations - Important Information for Georgia Medical Practices and Hospitals
Isn't Every State Pretty Much the Same?
No! Regulations do vary by state. South Carolina, for example, is very strict about what's included in a manifest. They even require the weight of what's being put on that manifest and sometimes the specific name of the person processing the waste. Georgia, on the other hand, is more lenient about such details.
Permitting requirements (in terms of necessary paperwork and fees) can also vary.
Every state deals with and handles their medical waste in slightly different ways, and one of those minor differences involves terminology.
In Georgia regulated medical waste is often referred to as biomedical waste. These two terms refer to the same kind of waste, and they need to be treated in the same manner. It's just a matter of wording.
Storing Medical Waste
Georgia's laws don't require the biohazardous waste to be locked up. However, it must be:
- Where patients can't access it.
- Properly labeled. This way, cleaning crews don't accidentally throw it away.
- Stored in a cool, dry place.
Not State-Specific Medical Waste Regulations
In the world of medical waste, there are some rules that apply across the board. That means, whether you run a clinic in Georgia or a hospital in California, you have to adhere to these rules for full legal compliance.
Every state requires all medical waste management companies to carry the proper permitting. Remember, one permit does not allow a company free rein. That company will need specific permits to receive as well as ship red bag waste and other types of medical-generated waste.
These waste management companies also need the proper insurance to cover any potential incident involving the waste. As the generator of that medical waste, you assume cradle to grave liability. That is, until that waste is properly treated and disposed of, you're still liable. Protect yourself by working with a company that is adequately insured.
- Medical Waste Transport
Regardless of state, you need to use the proper packaging when shipping out your generated medical waste. These containers are most commonly cardboard boxes or plastic tubs. Whatever is used must be leakproof, rigid, and properly and carefully prepared. That means:
—Everything labeled correctly. (This includes items such as the incineration label for trace chemotherapy and pathological waste as well as the general biohazard symbol.)
—All bags within securely tied.
—All scalpels, knives, and syringes placed in sharps bins in order to comply with proper sharps disposal. Don't forget each bin must also be a puncture-resistant sharps container. This ensures the safety of everyone who handles these boxes at any point in the transport process.
—Lid taped shut prior to shipment.
Depending on the type of waste, it will also require a bill of lading (for non-hazardous waste) or a hazardous waste manifest.
Federal OSHA Compliance
Because OSHA is a federal body, all OSHA laws take precedence over state regulations. However, a particular state can choose to be more strict than OSHA's requirements. A state is just not allowed to be less strict.
Because there are both federal and state laws to adhere to, it is a good idea to work with a reputable full-service medical waste management company. Just ensure the company is knowledgeable enough to understand these differing regulations and experienced enough to fully comply. For more information about Georgia waste management, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company