Biohazard Cleaning is a daily occurrence in certain sectors, and with increases in regulatory control and health and safety guidelines, it is becoming more frequently used in others. From an industrial accident in a factory to a Friday night brawl in a pub, from the aftermath of a flood to a death, the emergency services do not have the time or resources to deal with biohazards such as trauma clean-ups or blood clean-ups. More importantly, emergency service staff are not trained or qualified to free a scene of biological hazards.

Biohazard situations are categorised into four groups, according to severity and impact.

  • Category 1 incidents include train crashes, plane crashes, bomb blasts and large-scale road traffic accidents. Significant resources are required to eliminate any visual or bacterial remnants of the event and must be attended by a bioengineer with a Primary Qualification.
  • Category 2 incidents include decomposition, fall from height, suicide on railway, and road traffic accidents. The incidents affect a more confined area and will require fewer resources than a Category 1 incident although the expertise needed to address the challenges for decontamination are the same and a bioengineer with a Primary Qualification must be present.
  • Category 3 incidents including an act of violence, minor industrial accident, flesh wounds and presence of sharps. They usually result from a minor incident involving a single person and are primarily required for the clean-up of bodily fluids. A bio first aider with a Secondary Qualification can attend Category 3 incidents without the supervision of a bioengineer.
  • Category 4 incidents include domestic incidents, minor injuries and occupier purges. A bio first aider with a Secondary Qualification can attend Category 4 incidents without the supervision of a bioengineer.

In the workplace, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, give employers a legal duty to protect the health and safety of employees and anyone else that may be on the premises. Outside of the workplace, if an incident occurs on private property, the property owner is responsible for arranging the clean-up, even if the emergency services attended. Fortunately, these property owners do not have to don their industrial rubber gloves and grab a bucket, because there are a lot of specialist cleaning companies ready, willing and able to do it for them.

But what criteria should be met when choosing a good company?  How can you tell if they have done a good job? Atkins Gregory and its sister company, Monthind Clean LLP, have been providing Biohazard cleaning services to a range of clients for many years. Operatives should not just be trained in the processes of Biohazard and Trauma Cleaning, they should also be trained in how to deal with the local press, general public, local authorities and family of the deceased. There should be counselling available to affected operatives in traumatic events, and management support to ensure ongoing training and monitoring of staff wellbeing. All work should be risk assessed and quoted for prior to any work commencing so a client understands what will be done and how it will be carried out. A reputable specialist cleaning company will be able to provide evidence of its staff qualifications and will audit procedures regularly.

At Atkins Gregory, we have a response team in place and offer a 24/7 call out service. Our fully equipped response vehicles are always ready to undertake any type of bio cleaning required. We have Safe Systems of Work for every aspect of Biohazard and Trauma cleaning and our management team ensures they are always adhered to. With the correct Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and procedures in place, bio-cleaning can be a very satisfying and safe job, but if the potential dangers to health for both cleaning operatives and people attending the site, during and after a clean, are ignored, the results could be catastrophic.

The risks to health include viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, which bodily fluids and faeces can carry. Pathogens can come in the form of bacteria, viruses, mould spores, or protozoans; they can cause disease and often have a significant presence in sewage waste. If flood waters have been in contact with sewage they will contain pathogens, and even if they haven’t, they are still likely to contain disease-causing micro-organisms. If post-flood clean-up is not carried out properly, mould spores can present a health risk in the future.

Decontamination and cleaning of soiled areas are vital in order to reduce and eliminate the risk of infection from exposure. By having up-to-date Safe Systems of Work, cleaning a potentially overwhelming trauma scene can be approached systematically, ensuring there is no cross-contamination and no area is missed.  At Atkins Gregory, no corners are cut, nothing is missed. You’re not talking about a dusty shelf being overlooked; you’re talking about life-changing and life-threatening implications if the job is not done properly. Our operatives understand this, and it is important for potential clients to understand this too. The risks associated with employing companies providing inferior services, can prove to be very costly, and not just in a fiscal sense.

For more information, call 01223 438118.