Apply Now Campus Tour

Occupational Safety Procedures - Labels

Occupational Safety Training of Catawba Valley Community College

Bloodborne Pathogens: Signs and Labeling


It is extremely important to use personal protective equipment and work practice controls to protect yourself from bloodborne pathogens.

Warning labels need to be affixed to containers of regulated waste, refrigerators and freezers containing blood or other potentially infectious material; and other containers used to store, transport, or ship blood or other potentially infectious materials. Tags shall be used as a means to prevent accidental injury or illness to employees who are exposed to hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions, equipment or operations which are out of the ordinary. Tags need not be used where signs, guarding or other positive means of protection are used (29 CFR 1910.145(f)).

Biohazard symbol

General Tag Guidelines

  • Tags shall contain a signal word and a major message.
  • The signal word "Biohazard" or the biological hazard symbol shall be used.
  • The message shall indicate the specific hazard, or instructions to the employee.
  • The signal word shall be legible at a distance of not less than 5 feet.
  • The tag's message shall be depicted in words or pictures or both.
  • The signal word and message are to be understood by all employees.
  • Tags shall be attached as close as possible to the hazard by means of a string, wire, or adhesive to prevent loss.

Biological Hazard Tags

Biological hazard tags shall be used to identify the actual or potential presence of a biological hazard and to identify equipment, containers, rooms, experimental animals, or combination thereof, that contain or are contaminated with hazardous biological agents.


Regulated waste refers to:

  • Any liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials
  • Contaminated items that would release blood or other potentially infectious materials in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed
  • Items that are caked with dried blood or other potentially infectious materials and are capable of releasing these materials during handling.
  • Contaminated Sharps
  • Pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or other potentially infectious materials

Regulated medical waste must be packaged in a plastic bag, in a rigid fiberboard box or drum in a manner that prevents leakage of the contents.

The package must be labeled with a biohazard symbol; the words "Infectious Waste" or "Medical Waste"; the date of shipment; and the name, address and phone number of the generator, transporter, storage facility and treatment facility.

Non-regulated medical waste packaging requirements are not specified in the Solid Waste Section rules. It is, however, the policy of Catawba Valley Community College to treat non-regulated waste in the same manner as regulated waste.

NEXT: » Emergencies & Vaccinations