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Laboratory Safety Programs

Hazardous Material Management/Biological Waste Disposal

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National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Hazardous and biohazard waste disposal is not new to laboratories or to their state or municipal agencies. It is probable that the laboratory will have an existing waste disposal program and/or contracted vendor through their governing city, county, or state agency. Private laboratories may employ a vendor to handle waste disposal.

Strict federal standards exist for dealing with hazardous material and/or biological waste storage and disposal. Non-compliance with these standards may result in severe penalties for the laboratory and/or agency. See 40 CFR 262 put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Standards Applicable to Generators of Hazardous Waste.15

A number of federal acts address waste management, management of non-hazardous waste, right-to-know issues, and span-of-control of waste (cradle-to-grave).

Visit the Environmental Protection Agency's website for information regarding:

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)


Before storing or disposing of any type of waste, contact the appropriate personnel with the laboratory and/or agency to ensure compliance with their program.

Hazardous materials storage and disposal both require documentation. A chemical storage inventory provides tracking of both the receipt and the use of chemicals, as well as a double check for disposal of chemical waste. The chemical storage inventory is a part of the laboratory's Hazard Communication Program/Chemical Hygiene Plan. Waste documentation logs or a similar form of documentation are necessary to track waste storage in the laboratory. When waste is disposed of, it is documented on either a manifest or bill of lading. All waste disposal and storage paperwork is kept by the laboratory and its parent agency. It is the responsibility of the Safety Officer and laboratory employees to ensure that proper documentation of chemical use and waste generation is recorded and archived.16

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