California Biohazard Waste Regulations


Highlighted Requirements

The Medical Waste Management Act (MWMA) considers any person whose act or process produces medical waste to be a “medical waste generator” and is either classified as a large quantity generator “LQG” (producing over 200 lbs per month) or a small quantity generator “SQG” (producing less than 200 lbs per month)

Medical waste generators need to register with their local enforcement agency. More information can be found herearrow-white .

If a SQG generates 20 or more pounds of biohazardous waste per month, the person shall not contain or store biohazardous or sharps waste above 0 degrees Centigrade (32 degrees Fahrenheit) at any onsite location for more than seven days without obtaining prior written approval of the enforcement agency.

If a SQG generates less than 20 pounds of biohazardous waste per month, the person shall not contain or store biohazardous waste above 0 degrees Centigrade (32 degrees Fahrenheit) at any onsite location for more than 30 days.

A SQG may store biohazardous or sharps waste at or below 0 degrees Centigrade (32 degrees Fahrenheit) at an onsite location for not more than 90 days without obtaining prior written approval of the enforcement agency.

Tracking documents are provided to the generator by the transporter. Medical waste generators are required to maintain a completed tracking document of all medical waste removed for treatment or disposal for a period of three years.

Medical Waste Overview

California’s medical waste disposal regulations are managed by the California Department of Public Health, Environmental Management Branch. The complete detailed disposal requirements are found in Medical Waste Management Programlink-arrow page of the California Department of Public Health website. The Medical Waste Management Act (MWMA), part of the California Health and Safety Codes, outlines the requirements in detail Medical Waste Management Act (pdf)link-arrow . The Medical Waste Management Act governs the management of medical waste in all jurisdictions of the State.

OSHA Regulations

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. California is one of 24 states operating an approved occupational safety and health program. This program is operated by Cal/OSHAlink-arrow . 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.

Contact Information

California Department of Public Health Environmental Management Branch

(916) 558-1784

Email

website

Cal/OSHA

510) 286-7000

Website

 

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