Most people never think of what is involved to clean up blood or body fluids after an accident, injury, or unattended death. Insurance professionals may receive a call from a frantic or grieving property owner when such a loss occurs. How to proceed requires serious consideration and special attention – not only because the individuals involved are emotional or experiencing stress, but also because certain materials are hazardous.
In 1991, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) to protect workers from this risk of blood or other potentially infectious materials (BOPIM). This standard helps protect approximately 5.6 million workers in the health care industry and related occupations. Biohazard remediation falls within the scope of the BOPIM standard.
The standard provides regulations to protect workers from the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens such as the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and many others. The BOPIM standard has several requirements, including:
- The use of work practice controls
- The use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Proper handling, transport, and disposal of hazardous medical waste materials
- Specific required vaccinations
- Mandatory training
- Record keeping
Hazardous medical waste includes blood and other potentially infectious materials, such as spinal fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, and other body fluids. PuroClean restoration professionals are aware that these materials may cause infection to others. During the cleanup process, proper steps are required to always maintain the safety of workers or other individuals near the cleanup site. All biohazard materials are assumed infectious and are treated accordingly.
As with any type of property damage, PuroClean restoration professionals ensure that their actions do not compound the sense of loss of the property owners. In traumatic situations associated with BOPIM cleanup, PuroClean restoration professionals are exceptionally sensitive to the things they say and do – especially remembering that those involved may be emotionally vulnerable. It is important to show extra care and understanding at every stage of this type of cleanup. If others are at the location, PuroClean restoration professionals empathize with the traumatic situation these people are dealing with.
It is essential to use proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help ensure the safety of workers. PPE is necessary in complying with OSHA regulations and worker safety, but varies from job to job, depending on conditions. PPE should always include full-face protection, gloves, properly designated waterproof coveralls that include feet and head protection, and if necessary, a respirator with appropriate filters. The objective of wearing PPE is to avoid potential infection by ensuring that no hazardous material enters the body through skin, eyes, mouth, nose, or any other area.
The proper use of PPE, along with comprehensive training in handling hazardous medical waste, is vital during restoration. An initial assessment will identify immediate areas of concern and determine the scope of the work involved. Once a plan is in place, remediation efforts begin as quickly as possible.
PuroClean professionals start with an initial sanitization for worker safety. All potentially infectious materials are then carefully removed from the site. Hazardous medical waste is handled in compliance with OSHA regulations, appropriately processed, and sent to a licensed hazardous medical waste incinerator. Porous materials such as fabric and carpeting are removed in accordance with industry standards and government regulations. All other affected materials that are not considered hazardous medical waste are either removed or professionally decontaminated and sanitized, depending on the situation. Remaining materials such as drywall and flooring may be sealed – usually for cosmetic reasons to cover any stains from the incident.
Typically, the removal of contaminated materials, along with cleaning and sanitizing, sufficiently controls odors. In some cases, additional deodorization may require hydroxyls or ozone processes.
As with any property loss, PuroClean restoration professionals can help bring an unfortunate situation to a satisfactory solution. PuroClean restoration professionals are trained to clean up after traumatic events in a highly professional manner. They know how to remediate biohazard situations safely and in accordance with all applicable laws and standards. If you have a homeowner or business owner with a biohazard loss, call your local independently owned and operated PuroClean office for prompt and professional service.
Regardless of the circumstances – dealing with biohazards, remediating mold, responding to water damage, or fire/smoke damage – call your local PuroClean office, the Paramedics of Property Damage™. For all property damage situations, these professionals are standing by. They will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and will then provide restoration services to return the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible. All PuroClean offices have well-trained professional Technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science services to all property damaged from biohazard, water, fire, smoke, mold, and other disasters.