Medical Waste Disposal New Mexico
The New Mexico Environment Department Hazardous Waste Bureau’s (HWB) mission is to provide regulatory oversight and technical guidance to New Mexico hazardous waste generators and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities as required by the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act [HWA; Chapter 74, Article 4 NMSA 1978] and regulations promulgated under the Act. New Mexicans will then be assured that hazardous waste is managed, and contaminated sites are cleaned up, in a manner that is safe and protective of human health and the environment. HWB also ensures abandoned hazardous substances are handled on an emergency basis, and lessens the resulting hazards that may present endangerment to humans.
The HWB’s classification of medical waste is that infectious waste is considered a “special waste,” that has unique handling, transportation, or disposal requirements to assure protection of the environment and the public health, welfare and safety. Infectious waste means a limited class of substances that carry a probable risk of transmitting disease to humans. Types of waste are:
- Microbiological laboratory wastes
- Pathological wastes
- Contaminated disposable equipment, instruments and utensils
- Human blood and blood products
- Used sharps
- Contaminated animal carcasses, body parts and bedding, especially those intentionally exposed to pathogens in research.
Storage requirements for medical waste are that no person who stores special waste shall store the waste for longer than 90 days from the date the waste is placed in storage awaiting transportation, processing or final disposal unless otherwise approved by the department, except no person other than the generator shall store infectious waste for over seven days without refrigeration or at below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
With these definitions and requirements in mind, how has your facility adapted to medical waste disposal regulations as you have grown and changed? Are you aware of all codes and requirements currently on the books for medical waste treatment, storage and disposal? Under OHSA regulations, New Mexico is one of 21 states operating an approved occupational health and safety program, which is operated by the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau. New Mexico has adopted Federal OHSA regulations and has specific State regulations as well. These definitions, and management, operational, treatment, transportation, storage, containment and disposal requirements, can be challenging to keep up with.
For instance, here are some facts about medical waste storage containers in New Mexico. All red or orange bags or rigid containers used for containment purposes need to be clearly labeled as holding infectious waste, even if other types of waste are placed in the same containers. Rigid infectious waste containers can be reused if they are thoroughly washed and decontaminated after each use, and have also been protected by disposable and undamaged liners or bags. Medical waste storage must be protected from the elements, properly ventilated to the outdoors, marked with easily readable warning signs, and only accessible to authorized staff. This summary only highlights these specific regulations. Suffice to say, medical waste cannot be disposed of with the regular trash from your facility. After its treatment and storage, a licensed medical waste disposal company must collect this refuse and make it safe.
Once delivered to a medical waste disposal company, medical waste must be sorted, sterilized, compacted, and then disposed of or recycled. MedPro Disposal offers pick-up and disposal services, and we can adapt to your needs to create a customized and flexible pick-up schedule, partnering as a low-cost service provider. If we don’t offer a pick-up service near you, you can ship your waste containers to us, and using our mail-back service can be a cost-effective solution for smaller practices that generate less waste. Whatever your company’s needs, now or in the future, MedPro Disposal is ready to deliver. We will be your partner in your medical waste management program by being a low-cost provider of medical waste disposal and OSHA training services.