One of the many awkward truths about dying is that it can be very messy. When it fails to come gently (think: accidents, suicides, homicides, and decomposition after unattended death), there will likely be blood, bodily fluids, and feces with which to contend.
These substances can transmit staph, hepatitis, HIV, and other communicable diseases—some of which can live more than two weeks outside the human body—and thus require hazardous waste disposal—aka “biohazard remediation.”
Complicating matters is the fact that the need for biohazard remediation has no respect for anyone’s familiarity or experience with hazardous waste removal.
Owners and operators of entities that routinely require hazardous waste management are familiar with how to stage dangerous waste onsite and secure expert services for its proper disposal.
Conversely, unexpected death can happen at any business or factory; and if your management team has neither the internal experience nor external resources for dealing with hazardous waste removing, then the need for immediate and expert advice is even more compelling.
Federal rules are complicated—and state rules differ
As with all situations involving hazardous material disposal, biohazard remediation requires special training. No less than three federal agencies contribute to the laws surrounding biohazard remediation. These include OSHA, the EPA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Per OSHA, “personnel associated with the biological clean-up must be trained, immunized, and properly equipped to do so.” OSHA also requires a Bloodborne Pathogen Certification for personnel who collect and dispose of biohazard materials.
Per the EPA, laws regulating hazmat transport can also be applicable to your situation. Thus, your remediating provider might need to be certified to handle, incinerate, and transport biohazard waste, including (but not limited to) liquids, solids, and aerosols.
At the more local level, each state has its own rules, which are typically enforced by its Department of Natural Resources and/or Department of Health. In fact, most states license or otherwise authorize a company through their local health departments.
What’s actually involved in biohazard remediation?
First and foremost, bio hazmat professionals are expert at using EPA-approved anti-microbial agents for decontaminating your worksite while simultaneously protecting themselves and others from any direct or incidental contamination.
This is crucial for containing whatever liability you might bear relative to the incident itself—and not letting such liability expand to your alleged mishandling of it. Remember, no matter how prudent your actions, culpability for alleged mishandling will be determined by the various federal, state, and local agencies—not you.
Sometimes a cleanup isn’t enough
Unfortunately, in some instances, restoration work beyond cleaning and repainting will be necessary as part of a biohazard remediation. For example, new drywall, carpeting, and subflooring might be needed to render the affected area safe.
When this happens, especially if reconstruction is extensive, newer building codes might become applicable that didn’t exist when your facility was initially built, further complicating matters.
Biohazard remediation involves completely cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing a site where a fatal accident has occurred. It’s a category of hazardous waste management that requires the handling of human blood, body fluids, and feces; and so workers are potentially exposed to staph, hepatitis, HIV, and other communicable diseases.
Thereby, laws are imposed by federal, state, and local agencies in order to protect public health and safety—many of them unfamiliar to management teams unaccustomed to handling hazardous waste.
As expert advice is essential, no matter what the nature of your business, it’s prudent to maintain a short list of providers who can help you if and when the worst happens at your facility. One of the leading providers is Hazardous Waste Experts. For more information call us at (888) 681-8923.