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Where You Live – State Medical Waste Programs and Regulations

Posted at February 26, 2013 | By : | Categories : News | Comments Off on Where You Live – State Medical Waste Programs and Regulations

Where You Live – State Medical Waste Programs and Regulations.  Medical waste disposal is primarily regulated at the state level. To determine what laws apply in your state, use the map below or scroll down the page for links to information about state medical waste regulations and programs.

There are approximately 38,000 facilities in Florida that generate biomedical waste.  These include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, laboratories, funeral homes, dentists, veterinarians, physicians, pharmacies that provide flu shots, body piercing salons, tattoo shops, transporters, and storage and treatment facilities. The objective of the biomedical waste program is to protect health care workers, environmental-service staff, waste haulers, and the general public from risks associated with potentially infectious biomedical waste.

Both the Department of Health and the Florida Department of Environmental Protectionlink opens in new window have responsibilities under this program.  The Department of Environmental Protection has primary responsibility for biomedical waste incineration and final disposal.  The Department of Health has primary authority and responsibility for facilities that generate, transport, store, or treat biomedical waste through processes other than incineration.

When biomedical waste is improperly managed, it places health care workers, sanitation workers, and the general public at risk for contracting dangerous diseases.  Chapter 64E-16, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)(60kb PDF) link opens in new window, provides guidance to facilities that generate biomedical waste to aid them in ensuring proper management of that waste.  A model biomedical waste operating plan (38kb PDF) link opens in new window is available to assist facilities in documenting their procedures for management of biomedical waste.  Many facilities have their biomedical waste removed by a registered biomedical waste transporter.

Biomedical waste generated by individuals in their own homes from use of syringes or diagnostic lancets also should be properly managed.  Many homeowners can find assistance through a local county needle collection program.  Where biomedical waste is produced in a home through injury or other major traumatic conditions, the guidelines for home cleanup of biomedical waste (40KB PDF) link opens in new window provide guidance for proper cleanup or trauma scene clean up providers can be contacted to manage site decontamination.

Complaints concerning biomedical waste are investigated by County Health Departments.  Small amounts of improperly disposed biomedical waste are cleaned up under Department of Health supervision.  Emergency situations are referred to the Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Emergency Response, at (850) 245-2010.

Business Issues

The 1993 Florida Legislature provided funding for the Biomedical Waste Program from the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund.  Additional funding is provided through the annual registration of biomedical waste transporters and the annual permitting of storage and treatment facilities plus those generating facilities that produce at least 25 pounds of biomedical waste in any 30-day period of the year.  About 25,000 such facilities are inspected annually.  However, the approximately 14,000 generating facilities that produce less than 25 pounds of biomedical waste in each 30-day period of the year are exempt from permitting and from the permit fee, and are inspected

Guidance from the Department of Health relative to biomedical waste management assists facilities in ensuring proper identification, segregation, containment, storage, and labeling of biomedical waste.  The department has established parameters for the safe handling and treatment of biomedical waste in Chapter 64E-16, F.A.C. (60kb PDF) link opens in new window.  The department also has produced lists of commercial biomedical waste treatment facilities and of red bags for biomedical waste containment that meet the standards of Chapter 64E-16, F.A.C.  Other red bags also may be used if they meet the construction standards required by Chapter 64E-16, F.A.C.

Chapter 64E-16, F.A.C., instructs biomedical waste facilities in providing training to personnel whose responsibilities include some aspect of managing biomedical waste.  Such personnel receive training prior to assuming any duties associated with biomedical waste and also thereafter receive an annual refresher course.  Training details the procedures included in the facility’s written operating plan, as well as compliance with Chapter 64E-16, F.A.C.  A video on VHS tape, CD, or DVD to assist in training can be purchased from the Department of Health for $22.00.  The order form can be downloaded from below.

If you are in business as a biomedical waste generator or transporter, or operate a storage or treatment facility, or intend to do so, you can download from below the permit, registration, and report forms you need.

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