What Types of Situations Require Biohazard Cleaning?
Biohazards often present dangers unseen to the human eye. You may not think much about it, but blood spillage is a common biohazard because bloodborne pathogens such as MRSA, HIV, and Hepatitis B & C viruses can be present, and transmitted through blood. This begs the question: when do I need a biohazard professional? When can I clean something on my own?
First, it’s important to understand what exactly a biohazard is.
What is a Biohazard?
The term biohazard refers to any biological materials (microorganisms, viruses, plants, animals, or their byproducts) that pose a threat to the health of living organisms. These include human bodily fluids, animal waste, waste from laboratories and much more.
However, exposure to some biohazards presents a much bigger risk than others. Blood, bodily fluids and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) may contain bloodborne pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and rickettsia. These pathogens can cause diseases like tuberculosis, E. coli, borreliosis (lyme disease), and salmonella. Other common biohazards are not considered potentially infectious, such as feces, urine, nasal secretions, sweat, sputum and vomit. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) classifies biohazards into four “levels” based on how harmful they are to humans.
Related: 6 Biohazard Examples
When Does a Situation Require Biohazard Cleaning?
In certain situations, it is imperative for biohazard remediation specialists to take the lead on cleaning biological contamination in a given area — and some of them may come as a bit of a surprise. Biohazard cleaning is more than just picking up a mop and bucket; it’s a carefully planned and regulated series of procedures that requires specific engineering controls, personal protective equipment (PPE), and rigorous training to protect people from exposure to infectious pathogens. Here are some common situations that require the expertise of a biohazard remediation specialist:
- Presence of blood or other bodily fluids: Getting a papercut or nicking your finger while cooking don’t constitute a biohazard remediation job. Typically, a specialist isn’t required unless the amount of blood is significant — say, a pool of blood that’s larger than a typical dinner plate. This is usually the case in situations involving traumatic events such as homicides, suicides, or accidents in the home or workplace.
- Animal waste: If animal carcasses, feces, or other biological waste accumulates in any given spot, it can present serious health hazards to everyone in the immediate area. Harmful pathogens and other viral organisms thrive in these environments. An abundance of animal waste is actually somewhat common, especially in cases of hoarding.
- Hoarding: Hoarding is the result of a serious mental illness and the situation should not be taken lightly. The volatility of a person who hoards is the most dangerous factor — you never know what lies beneath the surface when stepping into a hoarder’s abode. Human feces, dead animal carcasses, cockroaches, mold, and more are all extremely common and should be treated as biohazards.
- Presence of harmful viruses: Generally, the presence of superbugs and harmful viruses are common in labs, hospitals, and other scientific institutions. However, with the coronavirus pandemic in play, the presence of a deadly virus is unfortunately common. It is of utmost importance to understand that threats such as SARS-CoV-2 (the viral strain that causes COVID-19) should NOT be handled by anybody other than a biohazard remediation specialist such as Aftermath Services.
Aftermath Services is Here For You 24/7
Aftermath Services has decades of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we go beyond the scope of work that janitorial staff and most restoration professionals perform on a daily basis. Our biohazard remediation professionals are trained to perform thorough mitigation services that include disinfection protocols using our proprietary disinfectants coupled with verifiable surface testing.
Every infectious disease case is a biohazard situation, and every biohazard situation involving significant blood and other bodily fluids can present a risk of exposure to infectious pathogens that cause common diseases. Contact us at 877-691-4761 today for immediate help.