Guide to Kansas Medical Waste Regulations
Kansas, whose anthem is the well-suited ‘Home on the Range’ is also home to roughly three million inhabitants and over 50 hospitals and surgical centers. As such, every county, city, town, and hamlet found in the state is required to follow medical waste regulations.
Do you know those regulations? Is your facility compliant?
Do you know that as a medical waste generator, you are the responsible party for compliant medical waste disposal even after it’s left your healthcare site? It’s called the cradle-to-grave approach. It’s not just a moral responsibility – it’s the law.
TOPICS WE WIlL COVER:
Who’s in Charge of Medical Waste Regulations in Kansas?
Even Kansas residents may be surprised to learn that over 120 agencies in this state propose and oversee the Kansas Administrative Regulations (K.A.R.). The regulations that a medical facility should primarily be aware of are found with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Their Waste Management Department is a good place to start familiarizing yourself with waste management practices, as their mission is to “minimize the health and environmental impact associated with the generation, storage, transportation, treatment, and disposal of all solid and hazardous waste in Kansas.” Several topics covered on their homepage include information for:
- Compliance, assistance, and enforcement
- Hazardous waste generators and transporters
Hazardous waste permitting and corrective actions
Each of these topics has numerous subtopics that are all linkable. For example, the agency provides a hazardous waste generator hand book in PDF format. It’s called “A Guide to Complying with Kansas Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations.” It covers topics such as:
- Who generates hazardous waste and who does not?
- Characteristics of hazardous wastes
- Summary of generator requirements
How to avoid compliance problems and minimize liability
Regarding Generator Status
Kansas has made it very easy for medical waste generators to find and understand the regulations in regard to hazardous waste. No excuses for not knowing the limitations of small quantity generator (SQG) or large quantity generator (LQG) requirements, or Kansas small quantity generator (KSQG) requirements. What about a conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG)? Sounds confusing, but all are specifically detailed.
While Kansas is also required, like every other state, to follow the regulations and mandates of the federal government, especially per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, some aspects can differ. For example, in order to be deemed a conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) in Kansas, the facility must generate less than 55 pounds (25 kg) of a hazardous waste within a single calendar month. This is different than EPA standards. In addition, they must generate and accumulate less than 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of acutely hazardous waste or less than 220 pounds (100 kg) of other waste listed in the federal guidelines found in 40 CFR 261.5(e) within a single calendar month. This too is different than the regulations found in EPA guidelines.
Rules and guidelines for medical waste handling, storage, transporting, and ultimate disposal in the state of Kansas closely follow the guidelines and rulings of the federal EPA. Even so, Kansas refers to and adopts a number of federal regulations, many of which can be found in K.A.R. §28-31-261 in regard to technical guidance and determination of waste codes for different types of waste.
Note: The Hazardous Waste Generator Handbook (linked above) is packed with details for management of hazardous waste that includes preparedness and prevention, accumulation guidelines, training, and other topics.
Kansas requires that waste codes be used by hazardous waste generators on hazardous waste manifests as well as land disposal restriction (LDR) forms, and on any other associated waste determination documents. In Kansas, hazardous waste is a waste that exhibits characteristics such as: corrosivity, ignite ability, reactivity, and toxicity.
In the state, hazardous waste is defined as a subset of waste that any industry or business generates, but for it to be classified as a hazardous waste, that material must first be classified as a solid waste. In Kansas, hazardous waste is defined as a waste known to be harmful or potentially harmful to human health or the environment.
The Kansas Department of Health and the Environment advises that medical sharps must never be mixed with any recyclable material, regardless of its origin. Disposal guidelines for hospitals and medical providers are slightly different than sharps generated by households, churches, schools, small businesses, and offices.
Sharps can include anything from acupuncture needles to hypodermic needles, scalpel blades, any trauma scene waste that can slice, pierce, or cut, as well as broken glass from a laboratory environment, such as a slide.
Sharps must be disposed of based on K.A.R. §28-29-27 (Medical services waste). Storage of sharps and other medical services waste “shall be stored in a manner and in a container that will prevent the transmission of disease or the causing of injury. Hypodermic needles and syringes, scalpel plates, suture needles, or other sharp objects shall be stored only in a rigid, puncture- resistant container that has been closed to prevent the escape of any material, including liquids or aerosols. All reasonable containers used to store infectious waste shall be cleaned and disinfected before each use.”
Compliance in Kansas
In Kansas, medical facilities typically produce or generate three types of waste: chemical, radiological, and infectious. While infectious wastes are not regulated as a hazardous waste, they are regulated - in the state - as a solid waste. For specific guidance for such waste management, look to the Solid Waste Permits Section of the Bureau of Waste Management.
Solid and hazardous waste compliance is overseen by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Their website also provides a link to the Bureau of Waste Management’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Compliance documents. Included in such documents are:
- Kansas statutes and regulations
- Solid waste checklists
- Hazardous-waste checklists
Solid waste and hazardous waste penalty matrixes
While Daniels Health doesn’t want to see any facility penalized for non-compliant solid or hazardous waste processes, it’s important to note that Kansas statutes authorize administrative penalties of up to $10,000 per day per violation for each violation of hazardous waste statutes. As an example, failure by a medical waste generator to properly quantify hazardous waste generation, falls under K.A.R. §28-31-261 (a) and 40 CFR 261.5 (C). The penalty? Anywhere from $500-$2,000. Failure by any person to evaluate all waste streams can instigate penalties that range between $1,000 and $10,000.
Don’t put your facility at risk for penalties. Daniels Health is dedicated to providing clients and customers with ample products, resources, and guidance when it comes to maintaining compliance for healthcare waste management processes. For more information about Kansas medical waste regulations or about us and our services, contact us today.