Waste generated in healthcare facilities may be categorized as office waste, hazardous waste, universal waste, and medical waste (Table 2).9 However, segregating waste into these categories can be challenging because jurisdictional definitions, especially for medical waste (e.g., non-infectious versus infectious medical waste), vary from state to state. The OMWM can consult the State-by-State Regulated Medical Waste Resource Locator for jurisdictional definitions of medical waste.7
|Office waste||• Common refuse
• Recyclable waste
|Hazardous waste||• Digital scanner, eraser, and phosphor plates
• Lead apron
• Laptop computer w/software
|Universal waste||• Fluorescent lamps
|Medical waste||• Common (non-infectious) medical waste
• Regulated (infectious) medical waste
OSHA defines RMW as “liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials; contaminated items that would release blood or other potentially infectious materials in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; items that are caked with dried blood or other potentially infectious materials and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; contaminated sharps; and pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or other potentially infectious materials.”4 Blood means whole blood, blood components, and products made of blood. OPIM includes all body fluids (including saliva), and anatomical and microbiological wastes.
Based on the OSHA definition, RMW generated in oral healthcare settings may include (1) liquid or semi-liquid blood and OPIM; (2) contaminated items that would release blood or OPIM in a liquid or semiliquid state if compressed; (3) items caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; (4) contaminated sharps; (5) pathological waste; and (6) microbiological waste.4
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