MassDEP has received questions about proper precautions and procedures for the handling of solid waste during the COVID-19 emergency.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance on these matters. It should be noted that OSHA guidance states that absent local or state regulations that differ, "management of waste that is suspected or known to contain or be contaminated with COVID-19 does not require special precautions beyond those already used to protect workers from the hazards they encounter during their routine job tasks in solid waste and wastewater management."
Solid waste workers should be protected by the personal protective equipment that they normally wear (e.g., puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protections that safeguard them from other bacteria and viruses present in solid waste streams. In addition, they should follow general recommendations on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Solid waste and recycling facilities may choose to provide additional protections for their employees. OSHA recommendations are the minimum that are considered protective of workers.
Solid Waste Management & COVD-19
MassDEP is providing the links below for companies and workers who collect, transport, and dispose of solid waste from households, businesses, and institutions.
As information on our state's response to COVID-19 evolves, MassDEP will continue to engage with the solid waste industry and provide additional guidance as it is developed.