Granny knots are standard here for all lab waste. We generally oversize the bags in reference to the waste can they are in. This gives us the extra “real estate” we need to tie the knot. I’ve also personally found this makes the bags a little less full overall which prevents liquid leaks. Although liquid leaks shouldn’t happen in a solids waste stream.
We don’t ship them out this way though. We consolidate into a cubic yard box. If you tried to ship them out this way, your waste hauler may charge you for the bigger bag size. This is something you may have to sort out with them. Waste haulers around here (in California) can’t drive around with bags of lab waste either. They have to get put into a DOT approved container before they can be trucked. At previous jobs, I’ve seen the waste haulers pick up our bags and just consolidate in their truck into a cubic yard box for transport. So if they are picking up just bags, they may be doing that.
We had a medical waste inspection and nearly got by unscathed. Seems the MW inspector wants us to put a granny knot in the top of the red MW bags. The problem with a granny knot is that we lose a third of the bag volume, and liquid leaks out unless you pull it tight with the strength of Hercules. We're a high throughput operation and as a MW LQG we take out lots of MW bags all day long.
California Medical Waste Act says in Section 118280 (a) - Containment and Storage: "The bags shall be tied to prevent leakage or expulsion of contents during all future storage, handling, or transport."
We gather the top, tightly twist, fold over, and secure with multiple wrappings of autoclave tape. The MW inspector insists on a knot. And we really don't want to do a hearing on this.
Anybody have another suggestion? Maybe something you've tried, like autoclave bag clips? Clamps?
Maybe it's time to invent and market niche device.
Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM
Safety & Compliance Officer
Los Angeles County Public Health Lab
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