Biohazards are wastes that can cause problems to human health; they are often found in health care settings. Biohazards include viruses and bacteria from human waste, drugs, gases and blood-borne microorganisms. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration---the federal body that regulates safety at workplaces---has storage requirements for biohazards. The regulations are contained in OSHA's Exposure Control Plan.
Authorized Access Only
Any area in which biohazards are present must be accessible only by authorized persons. Strict entry and exit procedures, such as a requirement to show identification or use an access card, and a requirement to wear protective gear if necessary, must be in place.
Signs must be displayed prominently on spaces in which biohazards are stored, warning of the danger and restricted access. These signs must be posted at the entrance of the storage rooms and work areas. The name of the biohazard agent, special requirements for entering the rooms, and contact details of the supervisor must be included on the signs.
OSHA specifies that anyone who works within biohazard storage areas must undergo annual training. In addition, whenever there is a change in the procedures or the nature of the substance that is being stored, the staff must be updated. Training should generally cover explanation of epidemics and the modes of their transmission, recognition of the tasks and activities that involve exposure to these materials, the proper use of protective equipment and the administration of vaccines.
- Toxic hazard flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com