January 30, 2023

2022 Year in Review: Key Regulatory Updates to Know

From health and safety to regulated wastes, it is important to keep your organization updated on the most recent regulatory changes. Regulations are constantly changing; 2022 was no different. Stericycle has summarized a few key updates from last year on topics such as federal and state waste management regulations and safety updates related to COVID-19 and electronic reporting.

State Adoption Updates for US EPA Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule, effective since May 30, 2017, governs the management of hazardous waste. Four new states adopted the rule in 2022 (Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont ). As of December 14, 2022, 39 states, plus Puerto Rico, have adopted the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule. Stericycle will continue to monitor adoption by additional states, and the District of Columbia, in 2023.

The Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals (also known as Subpart P), went into effect on August 21, 2019. Eight states adopted the rule in 2022 (Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming). The District of Columbia. and Arkansas will likely adopt in 2023. Last year the EPA also released an updated version of The 10-Step Blueprint for Managing Pharmaceutical Waste, which has helpful information for healthcare organizations looking to comply with Subpart P and related requirements.

In 2018, the EPA added aerosol cans to the federal universal waste list. Seven states adopted this rule last year: Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.

State Medical Waste Regulations Update

  • The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality finalized revisions to its biohazardous medical waste (BMW) rules at 18 A.A.C. 13, Article 14. The amended rules became effective on January 4, 2022. Key changes for Arizona-based generators include:
    • Shipping papers must now be kept for 2 years (previously 1)
    • Putrescible BMW may be kept unrefrigerated for up to 72 hours (previously 7 days)
    • Putrescible BMW must be refrigerated from hour 72 through day 90 at 40F
    • Non-putrescible BMW may be kept unrefrigerated for up to 90 days
    • Discarded drugs can no longer be flushed down a sanitary sewer
    • Added two new categories to the definition of BMW: “tattoo and body modification waste” and “trauma scene waste”
    • Syringes that never had a needle attached, or, where the needle or sharp has been separated from the syringe, do not need to be disposed in a medical sharps container; they can be disposed as solid waste
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment finalized revisions to its medical waste rules at 6 CCR 1007-2, effective on January 14, 2022. A key change for any generators treating medical waste on-site is that they must now notify the state of those activities.

OSHA Updates

In January of 2022 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) withdrew the vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) issued in November of 2021. Although OSHA withdrew the vaccination and testing ETS, the agency emphasized that it is still working to finalize a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard.

On March 30, 2022, OSHA published a proposed rule: Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. Under this proposal:

  • Establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain high-hazard industries, would continue to electronically submit Form 300A Annual Summary information once a year to OSHA; and
  • Establishments with 100 or more employees in the highest-hazard industries would be required to submit Form 300 Log and Form 301 Incident Report information once a year to OSHA. These establishments would continue to be required to electronically submit information from their Form 300A Annual Summary.

2023 Outlook

The following are items to look out for in 2023:

  • State adoption of EPA rules will continue
  • State regulated medical waste regulation updates
  • COVID related OSHA regulations at the state and federal level
  • Potential updates to HIPAA Privacy Rule

With the regulatory landscape always evolving, healthcare facilities need to be prepared. Learn how Stericycle can help with your compliance efforts in the new year.

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