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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge Center

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Regulated Medical Waste and Sharps Packaging Guidance

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Last updated 3/31/2020

Stericycle’s Regulatory and Safety teams have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 (formally known as novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV), particularly developments made in infection control related to the proper management of medical waste generated during treatment of patients infected with the virus. We are managing waste generated during treatment of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities across the country, including quarantine sites.

Waste Management

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that medical waste generated in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and patients under investigation (PUIs) be managed in accordance with routine procedures.

  • There are no additional packaging or transportation requirements from the Department of Transportation (DOT) for regulated medical waste or sharps.
 

Packaging Guideline Reminders

Though new regulations or guidance documents have not been created by the CDC or other regulatory agencies specific to handling regulated medical waste or sharps derived from the treatment of COVID-19 patients, Stericycle would like to remind our customers of the importance of following current regulations, especially those from DOT regarding the proper packaging of regulated medical waste and sharps, as well as our Waste Acceptance Policy. Please note:

  • Generators are responsible for packaging waste for transport to treatment facilities. Stericycle drivers do not package waste.
  • Each bag must be hand tied by gathering and twisting the neck of the bag and using a tie or hand knot to secure the bag, and each container must be securely closed.
  • Closed bags must not be visible once a secondary container (box or reusable tub) is closed.
  • Improperly packaged containers or damaged containers will be denied pickup or returned to the generator.
  • Reusable sharps containers should not be packaged in RMW containers but rather placed on the racks for standard processing.

The CDC has created a resource page, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is providing worker safety guidance for healthcare employers and workers with an overview of existing OSHA Standards that apply to preventing and recording occupational exposure to COVID-19. Stericycle will keep its customers and team members informed of significant regulatory developments.

In the meantime, if you are a Stericycle customer treating a patient infected with COVID-19, please download our updated COVID-19 Generator Packaging Guidelines, RMW Packaging Guidelines (English and Spanish) as well as our Waste Acceptance Policy.