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Indiana

Infectious Waste


Definition of Infectious Waste
Managing Infectious Waste
OSHA Regulations
Statutes, Regulations and Guidelines
Contacts
More Information


Definition of Infectious Waste

Infectious waste means waste that epidemiologic evidence indicates is capable of transmitting a dangerous communicable disease. The term includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Contaminated sharps or contaminated objects that could potentially become contaminated sharps;
  • Infectious biological cultures, infectious associated biologicals, and infectious agent stock;
  • Pathological waste;
  • Blood and blood products in liquid and semiliquid form;
  • Laboratory animal carcasses, body parts, blood and body fluids in liquid and semiliquid form;
  • Bedding of laboratory animals; and
  • Other waste that has been intermingled with infectious waste.

Managing Infectious Waste

This rule applies, without regard to quantity, to defined facilities and persons involved in infectious waste activity.

Containment and Labeling; Effective Treatment, Transport, or Disposal

The generator of infectious waste is responsible for the appropriate containment, appropriate labeling, effective treatment, transport, and disposal of infectious waste as required by this rule. A person may provide services to the generator of infectious waste, including the appropriate containment, appropriate labeling, effective treatment, transport, or disposal of infectious waste. Both the generator of infectious waste and the person providing services to the generator of infectious waste are responsible for complying with the requirements set forth in this rule.

Containment

All persons and facilities subject to the infectious waste rule shall:

  • Ensure that infectious waste is at all times contained in a manner that will reasonably protect waste handlers and the public from contracting dangerous communicable disease that may result from exposure to the infectious waste.
  • Place contaminated sharps or contaminated objects that could potentially become contaminated sharps, infectious biological cultures, infectious associated biologicals, and infectious agent stock in containers that are:
    • Leak proof, rigid, puncture-resistant;
    • Tightly sealed to prevent expulsion;
    • Labeled with the biohazard symbol; and
    • Effectively treated in accordance with this rule prior to being stored in an unsecured area and sent for final disposal.
  • Place pathological waste; laboratory animal carcasses, laboratory animal body parts, laboratory animal blood and body fluids, and laboratory animal bedding; human blood; human blood products in liquid or semiliquid form; and human body fluids that are visibly contaminated with blood in containers that are:
    • Impervious to moisture;
    • Sufficient strength and thickness to prevent expulsion;
    • Secured to prevent leakage or expulsion;
    • Labeled with the biohazard symbol; and
    • Effectively treated in accordance with this rule prior to being placed in an unsecured area and sent for final disposal.

Storage Requirements

If infectious waste is stored prior to final disposal, all persons shall store infectious waste in a secure area that:

  • Is locked or otherwise secured to eliminate access by or exposure to the general public; and
  • Affords protection from adverse environmental conditions and vermin; and
  • Has a prominently displayed biohazard symbol.

In addition:

  • Stored in a manner that preserves the integrity of the container, and is not conducive to rapid microbial growth and putrefaction; and
  • Disinfect reusable containers for infectious waste each time that they are emptied, unless the surfaces of the reusable containers have been protected from contamination by disposable liners, bags, or other devices that are removed with the infectious waste.

Treatment of Infectious Waste

All persons and facilities subject to this rule shall either effectively treat infectious waste or transport infectious waste off-site for effective treatment.

A treatment is effective if it reduces the pathogenic qualities of infectious waste for safe handling, is designed for the specific infectious waste involved, and is carried out in a manner consistent with this rule. Effective treatment may include:

  • Incineration;
  • Steam sterilization;
  • Chemical disinfection;
  • Thermal inactivation;
  • Irradiation; or
  • Discharge in a sanitary sewer or septic system that is properly installed and operating in accordance with state and local laws.

Applicable persons and facilities may store, transport, and dispose of infectious waste that has been effectively treated in accordance with this rule in the usual manner for waste that is noninfectious.

Transporting Infectious Waste

All persons and facilities subject to this rule shall:

  • Transport infectious waste in a manner that reasonably protects waste handlers and the public from contracting dangerous communicable disease; and
  • Effectively treat infectious waste in accordance with this rule before it is compacted.

Transporting Infectious Waste Off-Site

All persons and facilities subject to this rule who are transporting infectious waste off-site, whether effectively treated or not, shall:

  • Mark containers of infectious waste with a label that states the name, address, and telephone number of the generating facility and treatment facility, if applicable; and
  • Provide a form that contains:
    • The name, address, and telephone number of the generating facility and treatment facility, if applicable;
    • A brief description of the waste and the method of effective treatment; and
    • The signature of a responsible person.

Required information may be enclosed between the secondary packaging and the outer packaging, when such packaging is used. The outer packaging must contain a biohazard symbol.

Written Policies and Procedures, Reporting and Recordkeeping

All persons and facilities subject to this rule shall have written policy and procedures that, at a minimum, contain:

  • The requirements of the infectious waste rule; and
  • The sanctions, including discipline and dismissal of persons, if warranted, for failure to follow the requirements set forth in this rule;
  • Provide necessary instruction and materials, including protective garments, to implement this rule prior to giving a person an assignment where contact with infectious waste is likely;
  • Maintain a record of such instruction, including an attendance record of a person's participation in the instruction; and
  • Make all records available to the department for inspection

Facility Operator Responsibilities

Facility operators are responsible for informing employees and other applicable persons of the risk of HIV and other infections, and providing appropriate training and education. Detailed responsibilities are contained in the infectious waste rules.

Facility Operator Policies

A facility operator shall develop a written policy that requires the use of universal precautions by a covered individual when performing those professional, employment, training, or volunteer activities or duties that include any reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. The policy shall also include:

  • Sanctions, including discipline and dismissal, if warranted, for failure to use universal precautions; and
  • Proscribes the facility operator, or any covered individual acting at or on behalf of the facility, from retaliating against any person, including any professional, employee, trainee, volunteer, or patient, for filing a complaint with the department in good faith under this rule.

Covered Individuals' Minimum Training and Certification Requirements

All covered individuals must complete the training programs which the facility is required to have employees attend under the Indiana occupational safety and health administration's bloodborne pathogens standards. Detailed instructions are contained in the infectious waste rules.

OSHA Regulations: HERC OSHA State Page

In addition to the state medical waste environmental regulations there are some Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules that apply to medical/infectious waste.  Indiana is one of 21 states operating an approved occupational safety and health program. This program is operated by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Division. OSHA rules (Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standards) impact various aspects of medical/infectious waste, including management of sharps, requirements for containers that hold or store medical/infectious waste, labeling of medical/infectious waste bags/containers, and employee training.  These requirements can be found in the HERC section entitled OSHA Standards for Regulated Waste.

Statutes, Regulations and Guidelines

Indiana Infectious Waste Rule (Article 1, Rule 3)

Indiana Hospital/Medical/Infectious Waste Incinerator Rule

Contacts

Indiana Department of Environmental Management

More Information

None located.