SPECTRE Blog Series: Considerations for Managing Category A Waste in a Healthcare Facility-Storing Category A Waste Prior to Inactivation or Transport & Moving Category A Waste from Patient Care Area to Storage Location or Transport Vehicle

In this post, we will discuss the following considerations for managing Category A waste in a healthcare facility:

  • Storing Category A waste prior to inactivation or transport
  • Moving Category A waste from patient care area to storage location or transport vehicle

Storing packaged Category A waste containers prior to inactivation or transport: Prior to on-site inactivation or transport to a vendor for inactivation, Category A waste must be stored in a secure and access restricted area. Any waste generated from a suspect patient (i.e., not yet confirmed to be infected with a Category A pathogen) needs to be treated as Category A waste until proven otherwise. Facilities should consider aspects such as:

Storage in puncture-proof, leak-proof, and tip-resistant containers. Avoid use of reusable containers.

  • Secure waste containers to prevent them from tipping.
  • Limited personnel access to storage space
  • Biohazard signage, including information on the type of hazardous material. 
  • Storage time
    • 24-hour, 48-hour, and 72-hour waste transport vendor pickup intervals. 
  • Temperature controls
  • Capacity
    • The waste holding area should adequately accommodate the volume of packaged waste that may develop between inactivation processing or waste transport vendor pickups.
  • Emergency permits to plan for increased waste production or extended storage periods.
  • Category A waste should be stored separately from other solid waste and on impermeable/non-porous surfaces (i.e., floors without carpet, cracks, or gaps).
  • Protection against spillage, weather, putrescence, pest infestation, trespassers, and theft.

Moving Category A waste within a facility: Facilities should use a pre-identified route from areas where Category A waste is generated (i.e., patient treatment areas) to a secure storage location within the facility that serves as a waste holding area, and from the storage area to either the on-site inactivation equipment or to the location for off-site inactivation vendor pick-up.  

  • Use covered push carts, bins, or other leak-proof containers.
  • Decontaminate the outside surfaces of all waste containers before moving them.
  • Avoid high-traffic areas or divert other traffic while Category A waste is being moved.
  • Use designated elevators if possible.
  • Be aware of any potential spill during transport and notify appropriate personnel immediately to initiate clean-up

Alexandra McKenna Lewis is a 4th-year medical student at the University of Texas Medical Branch John Sealy School of Medicine.





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