Article previously published 2016 – updated 2018
Biohazard Bags – Why are Most Red?
Biohazardous waste bags must be either RED or clear (orange bags are not allowed) and labeled with either the words “Biohazardous Waste,” or with a biohazard symbol and the word “Biohazard.” These bags must be disposable and impervious to moisture, and have strength sufficient to preclude ripping, tearing, or bursting under normal conditions of usage and handling.
Red biohazard bags must be used for regulated Medical Waste, which is regulated by the Department of Public Health (DPH). Regulated Medical Waste is generated or produced as a result of any of the following:
· Diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals
· Research pertaining to treatment, diagnosis, or immunization of human beings or animals or
· The production of biologicals
In some cases you will see a clear Biohazard Bag
Clear biohazard bags are used for biohazardous waste that is not regulated by the Department of Public Health (DPH) but may be regulated by other biosafety standards. A laboratory can use clear biohazard bags only when the Biosafety Work Authorization has identified a laboratory’s biohazardous waste as nonregulated waste. Anytime the research significantly changes in a laboratory that uses clear bags, it is the responsibility of the laboratory to determine the proper identification.
The color of a biohazardous bag is used to differentiate between DPH-regulated biohazardous waste (red), and non-DPH-regulated biohazardous waste that may be regulated by other standards (clear). The color of the bag does not indicate the level of biological risk or final treatment. Both colors of bags are disposed of and treated for the biohazardous/medical waste in the same manner.
Dispose of Facilities Waste
Healthcare providers and facilities alike produce medical/biohazardous waste daily. This medical/biohazardous cannot be disposed of with your normal garbage due to many factors. This waste must be disposed of in a separate specified container/bags. Unlike your normal trash bags, these biohazard bags must be equipped to handle potentially dangerous material.
To Stay Compliant
There are many different reasons why facilities must use biohazard bags. One of the more prominent reasons is to stay compliant on state and federal levels. While there is an overseeing agency for the United States, each state is given the ability to govern regulations for medical waste disposal.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the agency that gives foundation for all the requirements of all facilities. OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.
Forms of Biohazard Bags
Depending on the state, biohazardous waste bags must either be red, clear or bright orange and labeled with ether the words “Biohazardous Waste”, or with a biohazard symbol and the word “Biohazard”. There are two different colors that theses bags must be, depending of certain variables. Red biohazard bags must be used for medical waste, which is regulated by the California Department of Health Services. Then, clear biohazard bags are used for biohazardous waste that is not regulated by the California Department of Health Services.
Specifically, there are many types of bags depending of the conditions: Medical/Biohazardous waste pickup containers, laboratory biohazardous waste containers, solid medical/biohazardous waste disposal, disinfecting biohazardous waste containers, liquid medical/biohazardous waste disposal, pharmaceuticals drug disposal bags, and medical/biohazardous waste contaminated with Radioactive or chemical materials.