Biohazard Cleanup

Quick Summary

Biohazard cleanup protects people from hazardous materials, including bodily fluids and chemicals. Biohazard cleanup is typically required during routine medical procedures, after certain traumatic incidents and when neglected hygiene affects a home or building.

About Biohazard Cleanup

Professional biohazard cleanup keeps people safe. Many circumstances require biohazard cleanup, and it is needed any time infectious, toxic, radioactive or other hazardous materials may be present at a scene.

Biohazard cleanup is needed for cases like:

  • Crime scene cleanup, suicide cleanup or unattended death cleanup
  • Prison cell turnover
  • Medical waste disposal in hospitals and research facilities
  • Hoarding, squatting or drug production in a contaminated home
  • Tear gas and chemical cleanup

Professional biohazard cleanup helps contain infectious diseases and dangerous substances while eliminating any health risks. It allows buildings and homes to be cleaned and disinfected and transforms a traumatic event into a safe space.

Regardless of why biohazard cleanup is required, it’s a task that should always be left to the professionals.

Types of Dangerous Biohazardous Materials

There are several types of biohazardous materials, each with its risks and cleanup considerations. The four most common types of biohazardous waste are sharp, solid, liquid and pathological.

Sharp Biohazards

Sharp biohazards are materials that may prick, stab or otherwise puncture a person if they are not carefully handled and properly discarded.

  • Needles
  • Scalpels
  • Microscope slides
  • Broken and unbroken glass.

Solid (Non-Sharp) Biohazards

Solid biohazards are unsharp materials that are contaminated by humans or animals.

Examples of common solid biohazardous materials include:

  • Latex gloves
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Towels
  • Tissues
  • Bedding
  • Plastic Materials (Pipettes, Petri Dishes and Specimen Vials

Liquid Biohazards

Liquid biohazards include liquid materials that can be collected and stored in closed containers.

Examples of common liquid biohazardous materials include:

  • Chemicals
  • Blood
  • Urine and Feces
  • Bodily fluids
  • Vomit

In some cases, small amounts of liquid biohazardous materials can be classified as solid biohazards and cleaned up with disposable cloths.

Pathological Biohazards

Pathological biohazards have a high risk of containing infectious diseases.

Examples of pathological biohazards include:

  • Human and Animal Organs
  • Bodily Tissue
  • Body Parts

These materials may be present at a trauma scene or collected during medical procedures, such as surgery, biopsy or autopsy.

For example, hepatitis B can remain active outside of the human body for over seven days and can be transmitted to anyone who comes into contact with the virus during blood cleanup.

Pathological waste has strict disposal protocols and typically needs to be incinerated or treated with chemicals.

Biohazard Cleanup Process

Biohazard cleanup professionals follow a strict process during biohazard cleanup. This process helps ensure that the trauma scene is cleaned to the highest possible standard and that everyone stays safe.

The biohazard cleanup process must be left to professional biohazard cleanup companies with extensive training and experience.

A DIY approach is not appropriate for cleaning any biohazardous materials.

Step 1: Situation Assessment

Biohazard cleanup experts perform a walk-through to assess the scene. During this assessment, the cleanup company will determine the appropriate course of action, while following all OSHA protocols and mandates.

Step 2: Scene Containment

Next, the biohazard cleanup company will control the scene to prevent the spread of potential pathogens.

OSHA, EPA and the CDC have strict cross-contamination guidelines that are used to secure the scene.

Step 3: Biohazardous Waste Removal

Cleanup experts then physically remove all visible traces of biohazardous waste, including blood, urine, feces and other body fluids.

This work must be done carefully, as all materials must be properly removed and contained.

Step 4: Disinfecting and Deodorizing

Biohazard cleanup professionals use chemical disinfectants and deodorizers to eliminate infectious disease, remove stains, deeply sanitize the area and neutralize odors. In many cases, there is no remaining evidence that an incident occurred after this step is complete.

Step 5: Post-Cleanup Safety Confirmation

A final safety check ensures the area is thoroughly cleaned and sanitary.

A professional biohazard cleanup and restoration company will use specialized testing technology to confirm all microscopic contaminants have been eliminated.

What Professionals Need for Biohazard Cleanup

Biohazard cleanup is a job for professionals. You should never attempt biohazard cleanup on your own due to the dangerous nature of biohazardous materials and many considerations required.

Proper Protective Equipment (PPE)

Staying safe is critical during biohazard cleanup. Professionals who perform biohazard cleanup and restorationservices are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s designed explicitly for biohazard cleanup.

This PPE may include hazmat suits and full-face respirators, as well as high-quality disposable PPE.

Effective Cleaning Products

Standard cleaning products are not strong enough to thoroughly disinfect, decontaminate and deodorize biohazardous materials. Biohazard cleaning services use only the most effective products that deep clean at a microscopic level.

Appropriate Disposal Supplies

Biohazardous materials must be appropriately contained to keep people safe from pathogens and other contaminants. Biohazard cleanup companies have the proper hazmat gear, sealable bags and containers to correctly clean, store and transport biohazards to an appropriate disposal facility.

Established Disposal Processes

Each biohazard has a unique disposal process. An experienced biohazard cleanup company knows how to appropriately dispose of bodily fluids, bloodborne pathogens, contaminated materials and any other biohazards they encounter.

Relationships with Law Enforcement Authorities

Biohazard remediation professionals have experience working with law enforcement and other agencies during the cleanup process. If an investigation is required, biohazard cleanup crews know how to collaborate with authorities throughout the investigation.

Finding a Biohazard Cleanup Professional

You may need to hire biohazard cleanup professionals with very little notice. Fortunately, experts are typically available 24/7 to help you out.

It is essential that you hire a biohazard cleanup crew that can arrive at the scene as quickly as possible after discovery. Quick decontamination and disinfection are a priority during biohazard cleanup. The longer a biohazard is present, the more opportunity there is for someone to get hurt.

Keep in mind that not all cleaning companies are qualified for biohazard cleaning. Professional biohazard cleanup companies must have extensive training and experience with hazardous materials.

Always ask for certifications and qualifications when hiring biohazard cleanup services.

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Author:Water Damage Advisor
Water Damage Advisor

The Water Damage Advisor content team is made up of multiple contributors, writers, and editors. We are your resource hub for anything related to water damage, mold and restoration needs that you may be challenged with facing.

6 References
  1. Biosafety Program. Biohazardous Waste Categories. https://biosafety.utk.edu/biosafety-program/waste/ 
  2. University of Washington. Biohazardous Waste. https://www.ehs.washington.edu/biological/biohazardous-waste 
  3. Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Biohazardous Waste: Segregation, Collection & Disposal Guide. https://www.vumc.org/safety/waste/biological-waste-guide
  4. UC San Diego. (2020). Biohazardous and Medical Waste Overview. https://blink.ucsd.edu/safety/research-lab/hazardous-waste/medical/index.html
  5. Aftermath. 6 Biohazard Examples. https://www.aftermath.com/content/biohazard-examples/ 
  6. United Medical Industries. (2018). 5 Types of Biohazardous Waste (and How to Dispose). https://umibiomedical.com/5-types-biohazardous-waste/
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