Part 1 of our biohazardous waste series explained the importance of using red bags properly to contain biohazardous waste, or waste that is potentially infectious. What goes in them is not the same as what goes in a sharps container or yellow bags.

Part 2 addresses how to handle the red bags. This must be done in a very specific way. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you and everyone else in your facility is protected.

Closing a Red Bag

  • Wear proper PPE when handling biohazardous waste containers. At a minimum, this means gloves should be worn.
  • A red bag should never be filled more than three-quarters full.
  • A red bag should be tied in a certain way to prevent leakage (see illustration 1).

Illustration 1. How to close a red bag

Red bags must be tied tightly to prevent leakage. Wear proper PPE.

With one hand, grab the top (opening) of the bag.

With the other hand, spin the bag, twisting the top of the bag.

Tie a knot in the bag.

Do not close the bag using the “bunny” or “dog” ears method.

When Transporting a Red Bag:

  • Use a wheeled trolley or cart; NEVER drag the bag.
  • Use “back” halls or passageways when possible
    • Avoid resident areas.
    • Avoid visible areas where people are present or congregate.
    • Do not use chutes and dumbwaiters.

Packaging a Red Bag for Pickup
Once the red bag is delivered to the storage room, place it in a designated cardboard box or tote, depending on the procedure for your facility.

When full, the cardboard boxes must be sealed in a certain way to prevent leakage (see illustration 2).

Illustration 2. How to seal a biohazard box

  • Wear proper PPE. At a minimum, gloves should be worn.
  • Set up the box.
  • Seal the bottom flaps securely with tape.
  • Ensure the red bag from the unit is properly tied.
  • Seal the top of the box securely with tape.

The box must not exceed 40 pounds or 30 gallons. The box will be rejected if it is overweight, leaking, bulging, or damaged.

For the locations that use totes, the tote must not exceed 200 pounds or 95 gallons.