environmental protection

In light of the potential for distribution of the vaccine, employers are revisiting their plans for return to work and the many challenges that office re-openings might bring, including the requirement that employees wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, and the disposal of such equipment. Most companies (non-health care or COVID-19 treatment facilities) generally assume that masks and gloves are simply solid waste and can go in dumpsters per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. While this designation may be appropriate (based on the state and local requirements), however, it is prudent for even non-health-care-related employers to have a plan in place to maintain a clean workplace and manage PPE disposal procedures if an employee exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. Moreover, many workplaces are contemplating the potential of offering COVID-19 testing and vaccination on-site, and employers interested in offering such services should be mindful of the potential for more stringent waste disposal requirements for used PPE. As you might expect, there are no straight-forward answers with the new phenomenon of PPE and COVID-19 as the federal Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 expired in 1991. Whether PPE is a medical waste will generally depend on a state’s rules and may depend on an employer’s knowledge about the potential for COVID-19 exposure.
Continue Reading Personal Protective Equipment Disposal Management in the Workplace