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Bemidji State University

Biohazardous Waste Management Guide

If you are a generator of biohazardous waste, you are responsible for ensuring that you and your employees follow regulatory requirements and University guidelines concerning management and disposal of biohazardous waste within your laboratory, shop or work area.

The following list of steps outlines the procedures and information needed to comply with the University’s rules on managing biohazardous wastes. They are presented to give you a better understanding of how to manage those wastes and help assure their safe disposal. A detailed description of each step can be found by following the appropriate link. Questions about hazardous waste management at BSU should be directed to BSU Environmental Health and Safety at 755-3988.

Step 1: Comply with information and training requirements in accordance with regulations.

Step 2: Identify biohazardous wastes.

Step 3: Segregate and collect wastes in sturdy, leak-proof containers.

Step 4: Contact EHS to have waste containers removed by calling 755-3988.

STEP 1: Compliance and Training

Regulatory compliance and training requirements related to biohazardous waste management are included in:

The Minnesota Infectious Waste Control Act,

The Federal OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, and

The Minnesota Right-to-Know Standard


Infectious Waste Control Act

Generators of infectious waste must comply with the provisions of the Infectious Waste Control Act found in Minnesota statutes, sections 116.76-116.82. Included in section 116.79 is the requirement for an infectious waste management plan. Therefore, any BSU department that generates infectious waste must have a management plan or be included in the plan of another department or one of the University’s colleges. Some of the plan’s requirements include:

  1. A list of the types of infectious wastes that are generated
  2. The segregation, packaging, labeling, collection, storage, and transportation procedures for the infectious waste
  3. The decontamination or disposal methods that will be used for the infectious waste;
  4. The identity of the transporters and disposal facilities that will be used for the infectious waste;
  5. The steps that will be taken to minimize the exposure of employees to infectious agents throughout the process of disposing of infectious; and
  6. The name of the individual responsible for the management of the infectious waste or pathological waste
  7. The management plan must be updated at least once every two years.

Please refer to Minnesota statute section 116.79 for a complete description of what must be included in the plan.


Bloodborne Pathogen Standard

The federal OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen standard applies to all employers whose employees have the potential to be exposed to human blood and other potentially infectious materials. Compliance with this standard also satisfies the related requirements of the Minnesota Employee Right-to-Know standard. Among other requirements listed in the Bloodborne pathogen standard, employers must:

  1. Establish a written Exposure Control Plan designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure, and
  2. Provide a training and information program for affected employees.

EHS has developed an Exposure Control Plan that covers the University’s general operations. However, departments must supplement that with a written plan that is specific to their activities. The BSU Exposure Control Plan is available on this web site or by contacting EHS.


Minnesota Employee Right-to-Know Standard

Generators of infectious waste must comply with applicable provisions of the Minnesota Employee Right-to-Know standard. Under the standard, employees who handle infectious agents must be provided information and training as described in part 5206.0700 of the standard. The federal OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen standard contains similar requirements. The Minnesota Right-to-Know standard acknowledges that fact and accepts compliance with the Bloodborne Pathogen standard as meeting the requirements for infectious agents required by the Right-to-Know standard.

The complete text of the standards and regulations discussed in the previous sections can be found by following these links:

Infectious Waste Control Act, Minnesota Statutes, Sections 116.76-116.82

Minnesota Employee Right-to-Know Standard, Minnesota Rules, Chapter 5206

Bloodborne Pathogens, Federal OSHA Standard 29CFR1910.1030

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STEP 2: Identify Biohazardous Wastes

Biohazardous waste is all biologically contaminated waste that could potentially cause infection in humans, domestic or wild animals or plants. Examples include human blood and certain human body fluids, recombinant DNA, human, animal or plant pathogens, cultures and stock of infectious agents, any discarded preparations made from genetically altered living organisms and their products, and contaminated sharps.

For waste disposal purposes, liquid and semi-liquid human blood and materials contaminated with human blood are regulated and handled as biohazardous wastes if the materials:

  1. Will release blood or other potentially infectious materials in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; or
  2. The material is caked with dried blood or other potentially infectious materials and is capable of releasing these materials during handling.

BSU employees are not expected or encouraged to compress wastes or use any other method, other than visual observation, to determine if a blood contaminated waste should be disposed of as a biohazardous waste. If you are unsure if a blood contaminated waste meets the criteria for regulated waste, assume that it does or contact EHS for assistance. Also please note that feminine hygiene products are not considered regulated wastes.

Sharps include discarded articles that may cause punctures or cuts, including, but not limited to, all used and discarded hypodermic needles and syringes, Pasteur pipettes, broken glassware, scalpel blades, and disposable razors. All sharps, including uncontaminated ones, need to be disposed of in leak-proof, rigid, puncture resistant, shatterproof containers that are labeled or color coded red.

DO NOT PUT ANY SHARPS WASTE IN REGULAR TRASH OR DUMPSTERS.

More information on the proper disposal of sharps and other biohazardous waste can be found by reviewing Step 3 of the biohazardous waste procedures.

Information on biohazardous waste handling and pick-up procedures can be found in the Biohazardous Waste Disposal Table, PDF.

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STEP 3: Segregation and Collection of Biohazardous Waste

All biohazardous waste must be segregated from regular trash.

Place non-sharps in red, plastic biohazardous bags. The bags must either be red or, if of another color, bear the universal biohazard symbol. Waste that is to be autoclaved must be in bags designed for that purpose. In addition, autoclave tape or some other visual indictor must be used, to verify the waste has been autoclaved. Biohazard bags are available from BSU Central Receiving.

Universal Biohazard Symbol

The biohazard label on a waste bag or use of a red bag signifies that items inside pose an exposure risk. These containers require careful handling.

Follow these steps when handling a biohazardous waste bag:

  1. Wear gloves
  2. Place liquid wastes in sealed leak-proof containers
  3. Be sure bags are securely closed
  4. Grasp and lift the bag by its top
  5. Do not carry the bag over your shoulder or allow it to brush against your legs or other parts of your body
  6. Double bag waste if there is a potential for the bag to leak or tear
  7. If a bag develops a leak or a tear, contact your supervisor

Never discard needles, syringes, blades, or other sharp objects directly into waste bags because of the high puncture risk. Instead, place them in a puncture-resistant, leak-proof sharps container that is labeled or color-coded red by the supplier.

Sharps Container

Use a sharps container for all sharp items, even those free of contamination. Never reach inside, and be sure to replace containers when about three-fourths full. Overfilling containers is hazardous. Sharps containers are available from suppliers of medical equipment and materials, drug stores, and safety equipment suppliers.

DO NOT RE-USE SHARPS WASTE CONTAINERS.

Information on biohazardous waste handling and pick-up procedures can be found in the:
Biohazardous Waste Disposal Table, PDF.

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STEP 4: Contact EHS to Have Waste Containers Removed

EHS will pick up biohazardous waste containers and arrange for disposal through an outside contractor.

Contact EHS at 755-3988.

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