Archived Biohazard Blog Posts
Bio hazard Cleanup
The death of a loved one is a devastating event for family and friends. When a person dies in the home or at a business, the cleanup afterward can prove too traumatic for family to perform. Outdoor scenes of death are often cleaned by a fire department, but if someone has died inside a building cleanup needs can be extensive. Odor, blood spills and tissue remains may need to be removed. Specific procedures should be followed to ensure permanent remediation, allowing dignified closure of a painful chapter.
Always confirm professional cleanup services are certified or licensed in accordance with your state regulations for death-related cleanup projects.
Instructions included in this article are intended as general guidelines and do not constitute training or certification in biohazard cleanup or removal.
Always wear OSHA-compliant protective gear when cleaning up biohazardous materials, including blood, brain matter, feces, vomit, and decomposition seepage.
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Tips for hiring bio-hazard pros
Tips for hiring bio-hazard pros
If you need to hire a bio-hazard remediation company, make sure to call one that follows proper procedure and has highly trained staff. Ensure they follow the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) guidelines for dealing with blood-borne pathogens, and ask if staff members are certified in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER), also offered by OSHA.
Ask what kind of work they've done in the past, and how long they've been in business. When they come to do an estimate, ask specific questions about their plan for remediation, and don't be put off by technical language. A reputable pro should be able to explain what products are being used, cleaning procedures and how long it will take.
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What is considered Biohazardous waste?
Biohazardous waste includes the following materials:
- Human blood and blood products: All human blood, blood products (such as serum, plasma, and other blood components) in liquid or semi-liquid form. Items contaminated with blood that, if compressed, would release blood in a liquid or semi-liquid form, or items caked with dried blood capable of being released during handling. Other body fluids or tissues containing visible blood.
- Human Body Fluids: Human body fluids in a liquid or semi-liquid state, including: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebral spinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, and saliva from dental procedures. Also includes any other human body fluids visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids.
- Microbiological Wastes: Laboratory wastes containing or contaminated with concentrated forms of infectious agents. Such waste includes discarded specimen cultures, stocks of etiologic agents, discarded live and attenuated viruses, blood or body fluids known to contain infectious pathogens, wastes from the production of biologicals and serums, disposable culture dishes, and devices used to transfer, inoculate and mix cultures (BSL-1 through BSL-4 etiologic agents as designated by NIH Guidelines/BSC).
- Pathological waste: All human tissues, organs, and body parts, including waste biopsy materials, tissues, and anatomical parts from surgery, procedures, or autopsy. Any unfixed human tissue, except skin.
- Animal waste: All animal carcasses, body parts, and any bedding material from animals known to be infected with, or that have been inoculated with human pathogenic microorganisms infectious to humans.
- Sharps waste: As defined in Section 9, Sharps Waste. The wastes above must be treated, packaged, labeled, and transported as described in the following sections. Sharps waste procedures are described in Section 9, Sharps Waste.
- Recombinant DNA and RNA: As defined in the NIH Guidelines. These wastes must be treated, packaged, labeled, and transported as described in the following sections or as determined appropriate on the EMUA and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee
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Biohazard Remediation: When to Make the Call
Biohazard remediation professionals specialize in the safe removal of biohazardous waste, often from the scene of a crime, animal infestation or accident.
There are some things you can't clean up alone.
While no one likes to think of their own home as a biohazard, in extreme circumstances it may be emotionally traumatizing or physically unwise to tackle a cleaning job by yourself. In these cases, you need to consider hiring a biohazard remediation company; specialists trained to remove sources of contamination and return a home to a safe state.
Not sure why you'd ever need to make this kind of call? Here are three situations that might require a biohazard cleaner.
You might discover this while doing a home renovation, or after a disaster like a fire or flood. It could be anything, such as a family of raccoons in your attic or a colony of mice living under your floorboards or in your ceiling. If enough animals are present or if they've lived in the space long enough, you may have a biohazard, which is defined as the presence of any biological substance which poses a threat to human or animal health. In this case, the animals will have deposited feces and possibly blood throughout the structure of your home, in addition to the bodies of deceased pack members. Cleaning up this kind of mess yourself puts you at risk for contracting a serious illness, such as hookworm or cryptosporidiosis.
As recent reality television programs delight in showing viewers, hoarding items in a home is not uncommon. If you or someone you know is a hoarder, you may need to assist in removing excess items from the home, which can be a major health hazard. Often, this is because hoarders neglect basic cleanliness in their homes, allowing sinks and toilets to become clogged and filthy. Garbage cans are never emptied, carpets are never vacuumed and food spills are never cleaned up. The result is a hazardous environment, one which you may not be able to fully clean on your own. Attempts to do so may spot-clean affected areas, but without the right products and experience you may not able to completely remediate the home.
If the sewer line from your home to the municipal system backs up or overflows, you may want to call in a biohazard company. Waste matter in sewer lines -- everything from feces to urine to soiled toilet paper -- has the potential to carry disease, and when sewer water comes in contact with carpet or drywall the result is a sponge-like effect, where liquid and microorganisms are sucked up and trapped. Wading into this sewer water puts you at serious risk, and removing just the carpet or drywall may not address subfloor, framing or even foundation issues.
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Dissecting Biohazard Cleanup
Dissecting Biohazard Cleanup: Understanding the Process and Reducing Risk.
When compared to a fire or water loss, property damage resulting from a suicide, murder or unattended death poses greater risk and complexity for the adjuster, the biohazard cleanup company, and of course, the policyholder. Many cleaning and restoration companies will offer bioremediation services, but only those that specialize in this area truly understand the science and intricacies of the bioremediation and decontamination process. In order to minimize risk for the insurance carrier and ensure the safety of the policy holder, it’s important to realize the inherent challenges of bioremediation and the processes and standards that every biohazard cleanup professional must adhere to.
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What is Biohazard remediation?
What is biohazard remediation?
Biohazard remediation contractors are often referred to as crime scene cleaners, but the job entails much more than cleaning up after a death. Since the contractors are tasked with removing any type of biohazardous waste, they often get called to the scene of car wrecks, fights and accidents in the workplace. Additionally, biohazard cleaners will remove animal infestations, clean up animal feces and homes where hoarding has occurred.
A biohazard remediation contractor is not a coroner, and will not remove a body from the scene of a death. Instead, the contractor will come in after the coroner has removed the body and restore the scene to its original condition. The job revolves around containing the biological matter, preventing it from spreading and eliminating it completely.
When to call a biohazard remediation service
A biohazard remediation contractor should be called for the following situations:
• Deaths in the home or workplace
• Gross filth removal
• Trauma scenes
• Car accidents
• Feces removal
• Animal infestations
• Hoarding removal
• Human decomposition
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4 General Bio-hazardous Waste Categories
Biohazardous Waste Categories
There are 4 general categories of biohazardous wastes based on the physical form of the waste. Each form must be segregated, identified, decontaminated and disposed of in an appropriate manner for the form in order to minimize occupational exposure and environmental release risks.
Biohazardous waste in any form should not be left untreated and unsecured in areas that are accessible to the public (i.e., left in hallways). Only lab personnel should remove treated biohazardous waste from the lab area and transport it to waste holding areas for final disposal.
The Biohazardous Waste Categories are:
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