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What Is Biohazard Cleanup?

Updated: 5 days ago



What Is Biohazard Cleanup graphics

When it comes to environmental cleanups, few tasks are as complex as biohazard cleanup. This is an intricate process that requires the right tools, equipment, and an in-depth knowledge of biohazard remediation.


From crime scenes to industrial accidents, biohazard cleanup helps restore safety and peace of mind in the wake of disasters.


If you've always wanted to know more about what biohazard cleanup involves and the tools and techniques that are used, we're going to cover everything you need to know about restoring a crime or trauma scene.


What Is Biohazard Cleanup?


Biohazard cleanup is the process of removing potentially hazardous materials to restore an environment to its original state.


Hazardous materials are anything that can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, including chemicals, bodily fluids, or any matter that needs to be disposed of according to strict protocols.


The main goal of biohazard cleanup is to minimize exposure to harmful pathogens.


In instances where a crime scene or traumatic event requires biohazard cleanup, survivors may also need to be taken into account. These scenarios require professional companies to pair their expertise with compassion and emotional intelligence, which is why this can be such a complex process.


The Biohazard Cleaning Process


The biohazard cleanup process requires highly specialized skills. Every scene will also present unique challenges.


Professional intervention in these hazardous situations involves a step-by-step removal process and the appropriate personal protective equipment. Strict containment methods are also required to minimize risks.


Here are the steps that professional companies, such as Chore-ology, will follow during a biohazard cleaning project:


Biohazard assessment


The biohazard cleanup process cannot begin without a thorough assessment of the entire scene.


The assessment includes a walkthrough of the site to determine the scope of the cleanup. A biohazard cleaner will also need to assess the types of biohazard materials present, evaluate safety hazards, and outline the extent of the contamination.


Scene control


The next step will be to control the contaminated area. Pathogens and other biohazards can spread quickly, which is why an isolation process is a priority. Specific cross-contamination protocols are used to secure and contain the biohazard scene.


Hazardous item removal


Before any biohazard cleaning can be done, a team will need to remove any items that could've been contaminated by hazardous materials. This includes equipment, furniture, carpets, and even decor. This is one of the more tedious parts of this process.


Disinfecting and cleaning


Once all hazardous items have been removed, harmful contaminants can be cleaned up.


A professional biohazard cleanup team will thoroughly clean the entire area, ensuring all visible biohazardous materials are removed. The disinfection process can now begin. Approved products are used to kill any remaining pathogens that are invisible to the naked eye and deodorize the area.


Scene verification


The final step involves an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) test. This test ensures that all decontamination efforts were successful and that the area is now safe for use. If the required levels have not been met, additional biohazard cleaning must be undertaken.


Materials Used During a Biohazard Cleanup


There are a few different supplies and materials that are required to effectively remove biohazards to make a space safe once again:


  • Protective gear, including biohazard suits, masks, gloves, and shoe coverings.

  • Traditional cleaning tools.

  • Cleaning agents and solvents.

  • Biohazard disposal containers.

  • Plastic sheeting and tape.

  • ATP tests.

Naturally, the number of disposal containers and the amount of cleaning agent that is required will depend on the size of the project.


Understanding the Different Biohazard Levels


Some of the most common types of biohazardous substances include bodily fluids, infectious agents, animal waste, medical waste, and fungus or mold. However, not all substances pose the same risks.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified four biohazard levels, each of which requires specific safety precautions and cleanup procedures.


  • Level 1: These biohazards have a minimal threat level and usually include viruses and bacteria.

  • Level 2: This level includes any pathogenic or infectious organisms that pose a moderate health risk. Examples include hepatitis A, B, and C, which can be found in bodily fluids and blood, Lyme disease, HIV, and dengue.

  • Level 3: Any biohazards at level 3 are considered incredibly harmful to humans. Anthrax is one example of such a substance. 

  • Level 4: These are the most hazardous substances and require an extreme level of protection and proper handling. Pathogens produced by level 4 biohazards can be fatal to humans and animals.


Types of Biohazard Cleanup Services


There isn't just one type of biohazard cleanup solution. These specialized services may be required in a number of different scenarios.


Crime scene cleanup


Crime scene cleanup projects generally involve airborne and bloodborne pathogens. These can also be some of the most difficult scenes to deal with due to the trauma involved. Suicide scenes also fall into this category.


Professionally trained biohazard professionals take care of the removal of any biohazards, help restore the area, and provide emotional support where necessary.


Infection control


Bacteria, germs, and viruses can also warrant biohazard cleanup services. While infection control services were once reserved for healthcare facilities, today they are often needed by homeowners and businesses.


During an infection control project, a biohazard cleanup team will clean, disinfect, and verify the scene, marking it safe for use again.


Unattended death scenes


In cases of unattended death, the scene remains untouched and undiscovered for extended periods, ranging from days to months. This scenario poses a significant challenge for biohazard cleanup efforts, as the area becomes swarmed with flies, attracted by the decomposing matter. Blood and bodily fluids seep into and saturate porous materials, compounding the difficulty of the cleanup process with the added complication of dealing with swarms of flies that have settled in due to the decomposing organic matter.


Pathogens can also get into the flooring, walls, and air, and even infiltrate furniture. Scenes of this nature require extensive safety precautions and it can take longer to restore the scene entirely.


Industrial chemical spills


Facilities that deal with harmful chemicals can be one of the most hazardous working environments. For this reason, safety is paramount. Unfortunately, industrial accidents do occur, most of which involve chemical spills. This is where a biohazard cleanup team comes in.


Any spills will need to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure a safe working environment for all staff. In these scenarios, trauma protocols may also need to be followed if injury or death has occurred.


Drug lab cleanup


Biohazard remediation services are also required in the event that an illegal drug-production site is discovered. Biohazard specialists will need to account for various chemicals and other harmful ingredients. This means strict protocols apply.


Hoarding


Hoarding has become a common problem across the United States. Countless people often require rehabilitation. Hoarding sites pose serious health and safety risks and assistance from biohazard cleanup professionals is often required.


The homes of hoarders often contain food waste, animal infestations, and other harmful waste, which needs to be removed before the home can be disinfected.


Animal waste cleanup


Almost every pet owner will be exposed to animal waste at some point or another. However, it's when this waste is not cleaned up regularly or thoroughly enough that it becomes a hazard.


Animal excretions can contain harmful pathogens such as E. Coli and salmonella. It can also penetrate various surfaces in the home, leading to odors.


A professional biohazard cleaning company can assist with animal waste cleaning as well as home disinfection and deodorization.


Should you require biohazard decontamination, Chore-ology's team of experts is ready to assist.


How Long Does the Biohazard Cleanup Process Take?


Because the biohazard cleanup process is intensive, it takes longer than a "regular" cleaning job.


It's not just about cleaning an environment; serious biohazards also need to be removed, which requires time, effort, and specialized equipment.


The biohazard cleanup process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days - it all depends on the size and severity of the scene. The location of the scene will also need to be considered.


For example, cleaning up a kitchen will be a lot easier than dealing with a large carpeted bedroom that contains several pieces of furniture.


And, as you can imagine, the complexity of the project will also impact biohazard cleanup costs.

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