Medical and Biological Waste

Training Overview

  • Audience: Public and community health professionals and anyone interested in learning more about medical or biological waste
  • Format: Online, self-paced
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Contact hours: Massachusetts CHO, RS, National Environmental Health Association REHS/RS
  • Competencies: Medical or biological waste
  • Learning level: Awareness
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Companion training: Body Art Programs for Regulators
  • Supplemental materials:

Medical or biological waste has characteristics that may cause it to be infectious or physically dangerous to human health and the environment. Examples of medical or biological waste include sharps (discarded medical materials, such as needles, syringes, and lancets including home-generated sharps), blood and blood products, cultures and stocks of infectious agents, pathological waste, biotechnology by-product effluent and contaminated animal carcasses and bedding. Due to the potential hazards associated with these types of waste, local boards of health (LBOH) should understand applicable federal and state laws and regulations and work collaboratively with medical waste generators in their communities. Additionally, LBOH, in cooperation with community partners, need to establish a means to assist community residents with the management of home sharps.

Enroll To receive a certificate of completion. This requires registration to establish a learner profile and completion of pre- and post-tests
Course Table The Audit function is no longer available. However, all job aids are still available for viewing via the course table.

What you’ll learn

After completing this training, you will be able to:

  • Identify federal and state laws that govern medical or biological waste
  • List three potential hazards from medical or biological waste
  • Describe the main sections of Massachusetts regulation 105 CMR 480.000 (480)
  • Distinguish medical or biological waste from non-medical or non-biological waste, and sharps from home sharps, according to 480
  • Summarize two key LBOH functions to ensure home sharps are properly managed.

Subject Matter Expert

  • Steve Hughes
    Program Director
    Bureau of Environmental Health
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health

  • Bharathi Patimalla-Dipali
    Environmental Analyst
    Bureau of Environmental Health
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health


This training was supported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) with funds made available by the Grant Number CFDA #93.069 and #93.889, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.
This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB6HP20150 “Public Health Training Center”. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.