NWRA Recommends OSHA Exempt Medical Waste Workers from Proposed COVID Exposure Rule 

 NWRA Recommends OSHA Exempt Medical Waste Workers from Proposed COVID Exposure Rule 

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association’s (NWRA) Healthcare Waste Institute (HWI) filed comments with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urging the agency to exempt medical waste workers from its proposed Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings rule.

In June 2021, OSHA published an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for healthcare and healthcare support service workers. The original ETS identifies medical waste handling services as part of healthcare support services.

“HWI recommends that OSHA exempt medical waste management workers from the rule’s requirements. In almost no instance will medical waste workers have prolonged, unprotected close contact with healthcare workers or patients,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “Exceptions should be made for those workers.”

NWRA looks forward to working with OSHA to develop an appropriate rule that protects healthcare workers facing the highest COVID-19 hazards.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association