OSHA releases measures to protect waste management workers from COVID-19 exposure

OSHA releases measures to protect waste management workers from COVID-19 exposure

OSHA’s recommended protocols include using typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices and personal protective equipment.

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released measures for protecting workers from exposure to, and infection with, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

According to OSHA, management of waste that is suspected or known to contain or be contaminated with COVID-19 does not generally require special precautions beyond those already used to protect workers from the hazards they encounter during their routine job tasks in solid waste management.

OSHA’s recommended protocols include using typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure to the waste streams in municipal waste, medical waste and recycling management.

For medical waste with potential or known COVID-19 contamination, the administration says to manage it like any other regulated medical waste, as COVID-19 is not a Category A infectious substance.

Additional regulated medical waste information can be found in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2003 Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities. This document provides additional information related to management of waste streams from hospitals and other healthcare facilities.