The federal government outlines basic regulations for how to handle, store, transport and treat medical waste. It then allows each state to impose its own regulations, as long as they are more stringent than federal guidelines. Arizona has imposed some of the strictest in the nation, and it’s up to you to comply with them. Here are six you need to be aware of.
Arizona-Specific Medical Waste Regulations
- Hazardous medical waste must be stored in an area that restricts access to only authorized employees. The outside of the storage area must display a sign that displays the universal biohazard symbol and reads: “CAUTION – BIOHAZARDOUS MEDICAL WASTE STORAGE AREA – UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS KEEP OUT” and “PRECAUCION – ZONA DE ALMACENAMIENTO DE DESPERDICIOSBIOLOGICOS PELIGROSOS – PROHIBIDA LA ENTRADA A PERSONAS.”
- Waste storage is permitted outside, but it has to comply with the access restrictions above and also must be protected against water, wind and animals. It can’t become a breeding ground for rodents or insects either.
- Medical waste needs to be stored in such a manner that minimizes odor. Of course, you wouldn’t want patients, visitors or staff to be able to smell the waste anyway, but if there is an odor present when an Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) inspector comes, you’ll be in violation.
- Most states don’t set a time limit on how long you can store medical waste, but in Arizona, you have to dispose of it within 90 days, which is why compliant waste disposal services are so important. If your collection schedule is less frequent than quarterly, you’ll need to increase it, even if your bins aren’t full.
- Medical waste disposal companies are required to leave a tracking document at each medical office showing they accepted the waste. You are required to keep that document for one year and have it available for inspection should an ADEQ inspector request it.
- Medical waste disposal companies are required to deliver waste to a licensed transfer or treatment facility within 24 hours of collection.
The Importance of Using an Arizona-Based Medical Waste Company
Large, national waste disposal services may be well-versed in federal waste regulations but are often less familiar with state-specific laws. US Bio-Clean, however, regularly meets with ADEQ representatives to monitor the ever-evolving state regulations and is committed to keeping its customers informed of updates.