8. BIOLOGICAL OR INFECTIOUS WASTE
Infectious waste includes any waste item contaminated with biological agents
suspected as being capable of transmitting disease. Infectious waste can be
divided into three primary groups:
Liquid wastes. Items such as blood, other bodily fluids, or culture media
which is known or suspected to be contaminated with disease agents.
Soft materials. Includes materials such as dressings, bandages, bedding,
toweling, etc. that are saturated to the point that they are capable of
releasing blood, bodily fluids or other potentially infectious materials
when handled or compressed.
Sharps. Objects or instruments that are contaminated with blood, bodily
fluids, or other infectious agents which could penetrate the skin or could
do so if broken. Examples of this include:
- pipettes (glass and hard plastic)
- hypodermic needles
- scalpel blades
Segregation and Storage
Place infectious liquid waste containers into leak proof containers for
treatment prior to disposal.
Place soft infectious waste into an infectious waste bag with the biohazard
symbol on it and treat prior to disposal.
Place infectious sharps into a sharps container for treatment. A sharp
container is typically constructed of hard plastic with the biohazard
symbol. The responsible department purchases the required autoclave
containers, biohazard bags and sharps containers.
Biohazard (Infectious) Waste Treatment
Biohazardous wastes must be treated as follows:
- Waste classified as Biosafety Level I & II must be autoclaved at the correct
temperature, pressure and length of time to ensure sterilization. A steam sterilization indicator
must be included with each load to ensure proper autoclave function. After
effective treatment & removal of biohazard symbol, waste may be disposed as
*Note: Before using a steam sterilizer to treat infectious waste, personnel must
have documentation that they have been properly trained and understand the
operating procedures for each unit.
- Blood waste and sharps, in sharps containers, are incinerated by a vendor
approved by EH&S.
- Untreated biohazardous material (including human blood, body fluids, etc.)
must be incinerated by a vendor approved by EH&S.
- Contact the EH&S Office for pick-up of biohazard containers for
incineration. Large biohazard containers are available upon request.
Please note that the NMSU
Biosafety Manual, IBC application as well as the exposure
control model plan and related information are available on the Safety