Policy Number: 89
Environmental Management and Hazardous Waste Disposal
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university") strives to minimize any environmental impacts from our daily operations through the implementation of an environmental management system. All regulated waste must be disposed of in accordance with the policies and procedures detailed in the appropriate safety manual including the Chemical Hygiene Plan, the Biological Safety Manual, and the Radiation Safety Manual.
Each employee, student, resident and trainee is responsible for knowing and complying with all applicable safety guidelines, regulations and procedures required for assigned tasks. Other laboratory worker responsibilities and those of the principal investigator can be found in the appropriate safety manual.
The types of regulated waste covered by this policy are defined as follows:
Hazardous chemical waste. Hazardous chemical waste is waste having toxicity, corrosivity, ignitability or reactive characteristics, making it potentially harmful to humans or the environment when not handled properly. Hazardous chemical waste is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. For information on the disposal of hazardous chemical waste, refer to the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
Infectious waste. Infectious waste is waste from laboratories, research facilities, and health and veterinary facilities that is potentially infectious to humans. Infectious waste includes but is not limited to animal waste, bulk human blood and blood products, microbiological waste and sharps. For information on the disposal of infectious waste, refer to the Biological Safety manual.
Radioactive waste. Radioactive waste is waste materials containing a radioactive constituent in excess of quantities subject to regulation by the Texas Department of State Health Services. For information on the disposal of radioactive waste, refer to the Radiation Safety Manual.
Universal waste. Universal wastes include batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment and lamps. The regulations governing the collection and management of these widely generated hazardous wastes are streamlined thus facilitating environmentally sound collection and proper recycling or treatment. For information on the disposal of universal waste, refer to the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
Mixed waste. Mixed waste is waste material possessing any two (or more) of the types of regulated waste listed previously. Mixed waste requires special consideration prior to processing and disposal, and the Office of Environmental Health & Safety ("EH&S") should be contacted for specific guidance.
EH&S serves as the responsible party in all matters related to the disposal of hazardous chemical, infectious and radioactive waste and the university's environmental management system.
Prior to the start of any activity involving a biological agent, chemical, or radioactive material, plans must be made for the handling and ultimate disposal of waste generated and surplus amounts of the hazardous material. EH&S must be contacted for guidance in determining the best methods available for avoiding the creation of waste materials, reducing toxicity or disposal.
Each laboratory worker who handles or comes in contact with hazardous materials must attend the laboratory safety training course (See HOOP Policy 95 Research Training). EH&S will also provide training seminars on disposal of regulated waste upon request.
Any individual who fails to comply with this policy, whether willfully or through negligence, is subject to discipline up to and including dismissal or expulsion. In addition, the laws governing disposal of regulated waste hold the generator of the waste primarily responsible for its disposal. Laboratory workers who fail to comply with the laws as outlined in the appropriate safety manual could be personally cited in a lawsuit. The university will not be responsible for legal fees in these situations.
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