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The state of California implemented the Medical Waste Management Program as part of the Environmental Management Branch. This is to protect the public and the environment from potentially infectious disease. This agency regulates the handling, generation, storage, treatment, and disposal of medical waste providing oversight for the implementation of the Medical Waste Management Act.

California’s medical waste management health and safety code is lengthy and very detailed compared to other states. The latest document per the Medical Waste Management Act is 59 pages. It covers everything from definitions of medical waste to powers and duties, permits, treatment and storage, and enforcement.

Possibly the most interesting part of the Medical Waste Management Act is its thorough regulations on trauma waste management. It is a rather particular event that not many other states cover, at least not explicitly in documents. This is any event that deals with the removal of human blood, human body fluids, and other associated residues from the scene of a serious human illness, injury, or death.  A trauma scene waste management practitioner must register with the department. Registered trauma scene waste management practitioners must pay an every year fee of two hundred dollars ($200) to the unit for deposit in a common fund used for this specific chapter.

Other highlights from California’s Medical Waste Management Act comprise:

  • Medical waste  must  be stored in an area that is either locked or under direct supervision or investigation.
  • Sharps containers shall not be stored for more than thirty days without the written support of the enforcement agency.
  • Acceptable actions for medical waste include incineration and autoclave.
  • Pathology waste of a human nature must be disposed of by interment, incineration, or alternative treatment technologies.
  • Pharmaceutical waste must be preserved by incineration or alternative treatment technologies approved.

The Medical Waste Management Program of California administers a number of local jurisdictions. The state’s enforcement policies are extremely stringent. We can see it starting with hefty fines and ending in jail time for repeated violations.

Call us if you’re in a field that generates medical waste, you need to be aware of all federal and state medical waste regulations.