Waste blood, or waste solids contaminated with blood, must be handled according to special rules. The government has regulations directed at protecting health care workers. These play into blood waste management.
But don’t medical facilities routinely check blood and plasma for disease? They must know which blood waste merits particular consideration. Yes, but authorities and the medical community apply the precautionary principle and insist on safety protocols. (In the US, donated blood is screened for hepatitis, HIV, West Nile virus, Zikka virus, and Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Types I and II (HTLV).) Even though many of the pathogens are disabled when the blood cools to room temperature, healthcare facilities handle the blood as if it were hazardous to employees, patients, and visitors.
Bloodborne Pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms and viruses that are present in blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Blood and other bodily fluids containing pathogens can infect workers and others at the healthcare facility if it comes in contact with broken skin (even including chapped hands). If the blood or fluid sprays or becomes an aerosol, it can get into the mouth, nose, or eye (mucous membrane).
Good hygiene and housekeeping practices can reduce the risk posed by blood waste. Employees should
Contaminated surfaces can spread hepatitis. Hepatitis B virus can survive on environmental surfaces dried and at room temperatures for at least seven days. OSHA requires employees that work with blood or other potentially infectious materials while on the job be offered the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Blood waste bags are often kept in a refrigerator until the medical waste disposal company takes it away. The word “biohazard” should be included on containers and bags that contain store blood or OPIM as well as contaminated laundry.