It’s Your Call December 2016

laundry oshaOSHA: Laundry time

You finished a procedure and your scrubs are contaminated. What else is considered contaminated laundry? How does your facility handle it?

The Bloodborne Pathogen Standard 1910.1030(b) says that laundry which has been soiled with blood or other potentially infectious material or may contain sharps is considered contaminated. There is a possibility of being exposed to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) when laundry is improperly labeled or handled.

When handling contaminated laundry, consider possible solutions such as:

Handle contaminated laundry as little as possible with minimal agitation.

Bag contaminated laundry at the location of use. Do not sort/rinse it in the area of use.

Place wet contaminated laundry in leak-proof, and color-coded or labeled containers, in the area of use.

When contaminated laundry is wet and presents a reasonable likelihood of soak-through or leakage from the bag or container, the laundry shall be placed and transported in bags or containers which prevent soak-through and/or leakage of fluids to the exterior.

In facilities that use universal precautions in handling all of soiled laundry, alternative labeling or color-coding is sufficient if all employees recognize the containers as requiring compliance with universal precautions.

Use red bags or bags with a biohazard symbol, if a facility does not use universal precautions for all laundry.

Contaminated laundry bags should not be held close to the body or squeezed when transporting to avoid punctures from improperly discarded syringes.

More information may be found at

HIPAA trash bags



HIPAA: Shredding PHI

Those old medical records are collecting dust, and you can’t just throw them in the dumpster. Has your office considered the best method to dispose of PHI?

The Privacy and Security Rule does not require a particular disposal method, but a covered entity must limit incidental uses and disclosures of PHI to the public and other unauthorized persons. So if you should see an offer for free shred days in your city, it may not be the best option for your covered entity. Implementing policies and procedures to address final disposition of PHI is an essential step. This process may include training staff and volunteers who are involved with disposing of PHI or who supervise others who dispose of PHI. There also may be a need for a Business Associate Agreement. Each covered entity must review their own unique circumstances to determine the most reasonable safeguards for protecting PHI through the disposal process.  More information can be found at HIPAA requirements for PHI disposal