Biohazard bags (Forensic Science)
The use of biohazard bags, as an element of hazard communication, is one of the key provisions in the Standard on Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on December 6, 1991. Biohazard bags are used to communicate the presence of blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). Such bags serve to warn workers who may be exposed to potentially hazardous and infectious materials; facilities that use biohazard bags must train their workers to use universal precautions in handling the bags and their contents.
According to OSHA, OPIM include human body fluids (semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, any body fluid visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids that are difficult or impossible to differentiate) and any unfixed tissue or organ from a human being (dead or alive). OSHA also considers as OPIM any materials containing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV), such as blood, liquids, solutions, and cell, tissue, and organ cultures used in clinical, research, and forensic laboratories. Forensic laboratories often conduct evidence analyses on blood and OPIM.
The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard also uses the term “regulated waste,” which refers to blood, OPIM, and materials or wastes contaminated with either one. Regulated waste requires special handling, including placement in containers with biohazard warnings (that is,...
(The entire section is 344 words.)
Further Reading (Forensic Science)
Acello, Barbara. The OSHA Handbook: Guidelines for Compliance in Health Care Facilities and Interpretive Guidelines for the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. Clifton Park, N.Y.: Thomson/Delmar Learning, 2002.
Barker, Kathy. At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator. Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2004.
O’Neal, Jon T. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard: A Pragmatic Approach. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1996.
World Health Organization. Laboratory Biosafety Manual. Geneva: Author, 2005.
(The entire section is 69 words.)