What Is Biohazard Cleanup
What Is Biohazard Cleanup
The biohazard cleanup process involves safely removing hazardous matter to restore a space to its original condition. Hazards can include bodily fluids like blood, chemicals, and other potentially harmful matter that must be removed and disposed of following strict protocols. The primary goal of any biohazard removal process is to protect people from exposure to the pathogens those biohazards create.
While the description above captures the technical aspects of biohazard cleanup, there is often another side to the process. When a biohazard cleanup involves a crime or other traumatic event, there can be survivors who require more than just technical expertise. A professional biohazard cleanup company must put safety first, but compassion and empathy are also vital to the process.
The Process of Biohazard Cleanup
Biohazard cleanup requires extensive knowledge and specialized skills to manage a scene properly. Blood and other bodily fluids can create airborne pathogens, while infectious viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces for a week or more. The long-term dangers of drug lab cleanup are unknown, and each scene can present a unique challenge. From crime scene cleanup to biohazard cleaning for drug lab contamination, the difficulties of biohazard remediation require experienced professionals.
Removing biohazards and the cleaning and disinfecting process require up-to-date training and proprietary equipment. A professional biohazard cleaning team relies on the latest information, technology, and proven tools to stop the spread of pathogens. They also rely on a safe, proven, step-by-step biohazard removal process that involves wearing personal protective equipment, using recommended containment methods, and taking other specialized steps to minimize the dangers.
A biohazard remediation professional begins the cleanup process by completing a comprehensive analysis of the entire scene, following an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved process. The initial assessment is critical for determining the proper steps to follow and protecting the cleanup team and others.
Biohazard Scene Control
Once a cleanup team knows the potential dangers, it's time to control and contain the biohazard cleanup scene. Pathogens and other hazardous contaminants can spread quickly, so isolating the affected area is essential before continuing the removal process. A professional team follows OSHA-approved cross-contamination protocols to secure and close off the biohazard scene from other areas.
A biohazard cleanup team is trained to identify every item at a scene that could be contaminated. Items could include carpets, furniture, decor, and other pieces that could pose a potential danger. The removal process is a detailed and often lengthy endeavor but is critical for the cleanup and disinfecting stages.
Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Deodorizing
After removing all potentially hazardous items, the next step is cleaning unsafe contaminants like blood. A professional biohazard cleanup team cleans every area that could contain pathogens to remove visible biohazardous matter. Proper cleaning ensures the disinfection process will successfully remove any remaining biohazards. Once the area is clean, the team disinfects it with EPA-approved products to kill pathogens and deodorizes the scene.
Biohazard Scene Cleanup Verification
The last step for restoring a biohazard scene is to verify that the process successfully created a safe, healthy environment. Professional biohazard cleaning professionals use an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) test to ensure the scene is decontaminated to a prescribed level. Once the cleanup scene passes the ATP test, the area can be released and used as before.
Professional biohazard technicians must have the latest training and gear to handle nearly any biohazard site because every cleanup scene poses unique challenges. To ensure a team is prepared for all possible scenarios, an industry-standard process guides a biohazard cleanup team from assessment to removal to verification.
Types of Biohazard Cleanup Services
Biohazard cleanup services are essential for properly managing the dangerous aftermath of a crime or trauma scene. While professional biohazard remediation companies often work with these types of events, the need for their services extends well beyond. Biohazard cleaning services are experts at containing and removing biohazardous matter, from remediating infectious disease contaminations to managing drug lab cleanup.
Trauma Scene Cleanup
Violent crimes, suicides, and homicides produce many biohazards, such as bloodborne and airborne pathogens. These traumatic events also affect the loved ones of those involved and require specific skills, including expressing empathy and minimizing the trauma. A professionally trained biohazard cleanup team delivers complete scene restoration and provides the emotional support these events call for.
Industrial Accident Cleanup
Industrial accidents involving injury or death require professional biohazard remediation for the same dangers found at trauma scenes. Professional cleanup services are also necessary for chemical spills, fires, and other industrial accidents that can produce biohazards. Commercial trauma scenes require empathy and understanding like other trauma situations.
While helping hoarders work to overcome their obsession is essential, the resulting biohazards of hoarding are dangerous and must be removed. A hoarder's home frequently contains garbage, food debris, animal waste, and even rodents and insects. Like many other biohazard remediation scenarios, cleaning a hoarding scene requires compassion and technical expertise.
COVID-19 opened many eyes to the immediate and ongoing dangers of viruses and heightened awareness of bacteria and other germs. While infection control has been standard practice at healthcare facilities for many years, the service is now widely available for homes and businesses. The process is similar to any biohazard cleanup and involves cleaning, disinfecting, and verifying.
Drug Lab Cleanup
Meth labs and other drug-related production sites create unique challenges for professional biohazard remediation specialists. Because the production of drugs includes various chemicals and other ingredients, there can be many unknown biohazards. Specific training for these risky situations is essential for protecting remediation specialists and ensuring biohazards' safe removal and disposal.
Unattended Death Cleanup
Cleaning up after an unattended death can be more challenging than remediating homicide or suicide trauma scenes. If left for an extended period, blood and other bodily fluids escape and contaminate porous surfaces and other materials. Pathogens can infiltrate flooring, walls, furniture, and the air. The longer the death goes undetected, the more dangerous the scene can become. Because of the extensive contamination, cleaning up an unattended death scene requires the utmost safety and professional precautions.
Animal Waste Cleanup
Even the most attentive pet owner can be exposed to animal waste and other excretions. Animal feces and bodily fluids can contain harmful pathogens, including E. Coli, Giardiasis, and Salmonella. While most pet owners clean up after an accident, fluids like cat urine can permeate items, flooring, and a home's structure. A professional biohazard cleaning company can clean, disinfect, and deodorize your home and restore it to its original condition.
Biohazard cleanup services are also available for many other potentially dangerous pathogen-carrying materials. Regardless of the cause, professional biohazard remediation can remove the dangers and restore the scene.
Why Hire a Professional Biohazard Cleanup Company?
Understanding the dangers of biohazardous materials is vital when there is a risk of contact. The pathogens and other contaminants at a biohazard scene are highly dangerous and can spread quickly. Cleaning up a biohazard scene exposes people to numerous pathogens, and the dangers can continue if the scene isn't completely decontaminated.
Controlling the spread of pathogens and protecting everyone involved is something professional biohazard cleanup technicians do every day. Remediating a biohazard threat requires detailed training and specific equipment, tools, products, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for safe and efficient biohazard cleaning. Without these essential elements, cleaning a biohazard scene is a high-risk and dangerous task.
Professional biohazard cleaning services have the expertise and tools to remediate almost any contaminated scene. A professional cleanup company not only helps clients avoid the risk of contamination but also provides much-needed support and protection for peace of mind.
Crime and other trauma scenes can take a personal toll on those dealing with the event. One of the many benefits of hiring a biohazard cleanup company is avoiding the emotional pain of cleaning up after a personal trauma. Unfortunately, many survivors are under the assumption their municipality provides cleanup after a traumatic event and are left to fend for themselves. A biohazard cleanup service can handle the cleanup with discretion and empathy to minimize the situation's impact.
Removing biohazards from a trauma scene and verifying complete decontamination isn't the end of the story. Contaminated matter, supplies, and other dangerous waste must be transported and disposed of in a specific manner to prevent health risks to the public. Investing in a professional biohazard cleaning company ensures pathogens and other contaminants are disposed of according to biohazard waste guidelines.
Many biohazard situations call for professional remediation. While many of the processes for cleanup are relevant to all biohazard cleaning, each case is unique. Biohazard cleanup services prepare technicians for a wide range of scenarios to protect everyone involved.
Biohazard Cleanup With Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Cleaning a biohazard scene can expose technicians to dangerous pathogens from blood, bodily fluids, and the air, as well as diseases like HIV, hepatitis, and other highly dangerous infections. The first line of defense for these professionals is always industry-recommended PPE. Typically, a cleanup team begins by suiting up with PPE gear such as biohazard suits, masks, rubber boots, and gloves.
During a biohazard scene cleanup, pathogens contaminate everything they contact, including protective gear, supplies, and cleaning equipment. The contamination risks can be minimized with protective measures and proper safety gear. Biohazard technicians are trained to switch gloves frequently, disinfect tools and other equipment, and follow other safety measures for everyone's protection.
Depending on the cleanup scene, a biohazard remediation team will choose one of four PPE levels. The guidelines for biohazard cleanup PPE from OSHA and CDC include the following, from the highest level of protection to the least:
When the risk of exposure to highly-dangerous biohazards is present, professional cleaners rely on the highest level of protection. Positive-pressure-supplied respirators or full-coverage, self-contained breathing equipment protect against inhaling contaminants, while liquid-resistant hazmat suits, chemical-resistant gloves, and chemical-resistant boots protect eyes and skin.
The second level of PPE for biohazard removal and cleanup protects against pathogens and other contaminants when the respiratory risks are high. This level of PPE provides maximum respiratory protection but less protection for skin than level A.
Chemical-resistant suits, gloves, and boots, splash suits, and coveralls are typical level B items.
Level C PPE is recommended for biohazard cleanup situations where the type and degree of airborne pathogens are known and call for air-purifying respirators. Full-face respirators, escape masks, and chemical-resistant gloves and boots protect sufficiently from mid-level biohazard threats.
The lowest level of PPE is recommended when no contaminants are evident and there is little chance of accidental exposure to biohazards from spills or inhalation. At a minimum, even at this low level, PPE should include gloves, safety glasses, face shields, coveralls, and chemical-resistant boots.
Biohazard cleanup pros understand the risks and are well versed in every aspect of PPE. Depending on the risks involved, a team may increase the level of protection, implement additional equipment, and make other adjustments for the highest level of safety. Regardless of the biohazards, professional technicians rely on PPE and other gear to protect themselves and others.
How To Choose the Best Biohazard Cleanup Services
When dealing with a traumatic event that requires biohazard cleanup, choosing the best company for the job is critical. While many companies clean up crime scenes and other biohazard sites, knowing which one to trust can be challenging and frustrating. Ideally, the service you choose should be well known and have a local presence. Here are three other criteria that should be part of your decision:
Cleaning a biohazard scene safely and completely requires experience and knowledge. The most trusted and thorough cleanup companies provide professional training for their technicians. Specific areas of expertise, such as bloodborne pathogen compliance and respiratory protection, are critical for safe remediation. At a minimum, every cleanup technician must be well versed in OSHA and CDC guidelines and recommendations.
References and Reviews
It's never been easier to check out biohazard cleanup companies and find real-world customer feedback. Many company websites feature testimonial pages or links to Google reviews and other online sites. Forums discussing situations similar to yours can help narrow down the field, especially if you're considering a national brand. You can also ask prospective cleanup companies for references from clients that have used their services.
Technical expertise in biohazard cleanup is essential, but the best services also understand the emotional impact of a trauma. Look for a company culture that focuses on the human side of the equation. The most important traits include understanding, empathy, respect, compassion, and discretion. Find services with technical and soft skills, and you can count on professionals who will support you and help you through a tragedy.
Cleaning up a trauma scene can be mentally draining, emotionally exhausting, and highly dangerous. There's no need to go through any of that when you work with a biohazard cleanup service. A reputable biohazard cleaning company will answer all your questions, put your mind at ease, and restore the scene to a safe and liveable condition.
Steri-Clean puts decades of experience, a commitment to up-to-date training, and genuine empathy into biohazard cleanup services that restore homes and lives. Our professional technicians are experts in biohazard removal, occupational safety, and many other facets of guarding against biohazards. Partner with Steri-Clean for biohazard remediation and human compassion during what could be one of the most trying times in your life.