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Headed To The Spa? Make Sure They’re Managing Their Medical Waste & Compliance Properly.

ENVIROMERCIA_Headed_To_The_Spa_Make_Sure_They're_Managing_Their_Medical_Waste_& Compliance_ProperlyAlthough spas are not typically perceived as healthcare facilities, there are quite a few instances where medical practices are being administered. For any spa generating medical waste or administering regulated services, there are laws that must be followed.

Across the country, laws on this can vary state to state, so start with finding out what your local laws and regulations are.

For example, in California, any type of laser treatment, whether it be cosmetic or for hair removal, must be performed by a doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse. New Jersey has similar laws, and limits the use of lasers to medical professionals. Conversely, some state laws require that all laser hair removal technicians work under the direct supervision of a physician. There are only a few states that require laser hair removal to be completed by a medical professional, but in all states technicians are required to have a certificate.

Your state will dictate the expectations and laws around things like lasers, data management, training, compliance, and medical waste disposal for spas.


Laser hair removal is one of the procedures that is often administered in a spa setting, but remains under the umbrella of a regulated medical procedure. The laser machine sends out a concentrated beam of light that is absorbed by the pigment, damaging the hair follicle to the point where future growth is slowed or eventually stopped. The length of time it takes hair to grow back will vary from person to person, and often patients will undergo numerous treatments to achieve the desired results.

While requirements do vary from state to state, there are general operating and waste laws that most states follow. In many states, the laser devices need to be registered. Some states even require that the purchase of the device has to be ordered, prescribed, and completed by a physician who works within the facility the device is being purchased for.

Once a machine has been purchased, there are additional expectations that vary state to state. Some require the facility to maintain the original prescription order for the purchase, the User’s Manual, a list of current device inventory, copies of annual audits, and training logs for all technicians who operate the device.


In addition to lasers, there are quite a few other spa services that are considered medical procedures. These can vary widely from things like Botox injections, to acupuncture, to skin rejuvenation services.

Many spas today have made the transition from offering massage therapy and pedicures to providing comprehensive medical services to meet the growing demand of the public.

Medical spas are more focused on visual and physical results versus relaxation, but the medical procedures are performed in a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere.

But because these services being offered in spas are considered medical treatments, the spas are held to the same high standards as any healthcare facility that produces medical waste. The spas are required to follow medical waste regulations as mandated by OSHA and HIPPA.

Like all healthcare facilities, the owners of medical spas have a duty to ensure their employees are kept safe and not exposed to potential hazards through the course of their work. They are required to provide the proper supervision, training, safety equipment, and more.

So next time you take a trip to the spa, remember that there’s plenty happening in the background to keep you and the workers safe!


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