Biohazards can cause harm to human health, animals, and the environment if not handled with caution.
If a biohazard is discovered within an organisation or business’ premises, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that it is safely and professionally cleaned up as quickly as possible to protect those on the premises and the wider society.
Organisations like hospitals and doctor’s surgeries deal with biohazards daily and are required to provide employees with professional training in procedures and practices relating to how to handle and clean up biohazards safely.
However, what do you do if your business is not used to dealing with biohazards and you unexpectedly come across one?
We’ve put together a guide explaining what biohazards are, why they should be handled with caution, and what to do if you come across one at work.
What is a biohazard?
The term biohazard is short for biological hazard, which refers to a biological or chemical substance that could be harmful to human health, animal health, and/or the environment.
Anything that could be contaminated with an infectious substance can be classed as a biohazard. Biohazards come in many different forms including solids, liquids, and microbiological organisms carrying an infection, virus, parasite, or toxin.
Some incidents that commonly require a biohazard clean up service include:
- Squatters entering a property.
- Tenants living in squalid conditions.
- A workplace accident.
- A suicide.
- An undiscovered death.
- A biosafety breach
It’s important to know what to do if you discover a biohazard in the workplace. If a biohazard is not handled correctly, it could pose a significant risk to human health and the environment.
Examples of biohazards
Many organisations deal with biohazards daily, particularly those in the healthcare sector. Businesses and organisations that handle biohazards daily will have set practices and procedures in place detailing how to do so safely. Staff will also be trained in biohazard cleaning and how to handle biohazards safely and responsibly.
Even organisations like these that deal with biohazards frequently may require help cleaning up and decontaminating an area if there is an accident or breach in biosafety.
Any type of organisation could find itself faced with a biohazard in the event of an accident or trauma on their premises. If you have not been trained in how to safely clean up a biohazard then it’s more important than ever that you call in a professional to carry out the job to ensure that nothing becomes contaminated by the biohazard and any waste is disposed of safely.
Some examples of common biohazards you may encounter include:
- Human bodily fluids and waste including:
- Pathological waste including:
- Body parts
- Human tissue
- Animal waste including:
- Animal bodily fluids and waste
- Deceased animals or body parts
- Bedding material
- Microbiological waste including:
- Specimen cultures
- Culture dishes
- Sharps including:
- IV tubing with a needle
If you need help with biohazard cleaning and decontamination, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts here at Slime and Grime Cleaning.
Why are biohazards dangerous?
If biohazards aren’t contained or cleaned up safely, then they could spread the infection to humans, animals, or the environment.
Some biohazards are more dangerous than others and to reflect this the Centre for Disease Control has identified four levels of biohazard.
- Level 1 biohazards: Those with the potential to pose even minimal threat to humans or the environment, e.g. E. coli.
- Level 2 biohazards: Those that cause severe illness in humans, e.g. HIV, Salmonella.
- Level 3 biohazards: Those that can become airborne and cause severe illness in humans, e.g. Tuberculosis.
- Level 4 biohazards: Those capable of causing life-threatening illness in humans for which there is no cure, e.g. Ebola virus.
When faced with a biohazard, it isn’t always obvious how high the potential risk level is. For example, if you are faced with a pool of blood, you are unlikely to know if the blood carries any risk of disease or infection, or if it does, the severity of the disease.
Because of this, it is always best to err on the side of caution and treat all biohazards as though they are a level four threat.
How to clean up biohazards
If you have discovered a biohazard that needs cleaning up, then it is extremely important that you act with caution and do not attempt to remove or clean up the hazard yourself unless you have received specialist training to do so.
Instead, you should take steps to isolate and contain the biohazard, ensuring that no one is going to encounter it until a professional has been in to remove it and deep cleanse and decontaminate the area.
It is important to secure the area where the biohazard is if possible, in case it is infected with pathogens that can become airborne.
Slime and Grime biohazard clean up services
Here at Slime and Grime Cleaning, we have many years of experience in cleaning up dangerous biohazards. Our team of highly trained specialist cleaners use a methodical approach to cleaning, decontaminating, and deodorising areas where there has been a biohazard present.
During a callout to clean up a biohazard our team will:
- Identify the threat and perform a risk assessment.
- Identify the best method and product for cleaning up the biohazard.
- Always wear proper PPE.
- Clean up the hazard quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly.
- Dispose of any hazardous waste safely and responsibly.
For a fast-response, professional biohazard cleaning service, give our team here at Slime and Grime Cleaning a call today on 0845 604 3452 or 0161 368 4617.