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How Cleaners Eliminate Biohazards

March 4, 2024

How Cleaners Eliminate Biohazards

What are Biohazards?

Biohazards refer to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms, particularly humans. They include:

Pathogenic Microorganisms

  • Bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, Legionella, and antibiotic-resistant strains.
  • Viruses like hepatitis, HIV, hantavirus, and norovirus.
  • Parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium.
  • Fungi like aspergillus and dermatophytes.

Toxins

  • Endotoxins released when bacteria die.
  • Myotoxins and neurotoxins produced by poisonous animals.
  • Cytotoxins that destroy cells.

Human Materials

  • Blood and other bodily fluids.
  • Fecal matter.
  • Used needles and medical waste.

Exposure to biohazards can lead to infections, toxicity, allergies, and other diseases in humans.

How Do Cleaners Eliminate Biohazards?

As professional cleaners, we use various methods and chemicals to eliminate biohazards and disinfect surfaces. Here is an overview:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

I always wear appropriate PPE like gloves, gowns, shoe covers, respirators, and goggles for protection from biohazards.

Containment

I first contain the biohazards to prevent their spread. This may involve:

  • Covering spills with absorbent materials.
  • Closing off contaminated areas.
  • Disposing of waste in leak-proof bags.

Removal of Contaminants

I remove any visible blood, bodily fluids, dirt, or other contaminants by:

  • Wiping down surfaces with disposable towels.
  • Mopping floors effectively.
  • Discarding used cleaning materials properly.

Disinfection

This key step eliminates most microorganisms:

  • Chemical disinfectants – I use EPA-registered disinfectants like bleach, alcohols, or hydrogen peroxide. I follow all label instructions.
  • Steam/heat – Heat around 170°F effectively kills most pathogens. Steaming devices provide dry vapor.
  • UV light – UV-C light destroys microbial DNA. Handheld wands or whole-room systems are available.

Final Safety Checks

Before leaving, I:

  • Verify all visible contaminants are removed.
  • Check for any lingering odors.
  • Allow for complete contact time of disinfectants.
  • Dispose of PPE and cleaning materials safely.

With meticulous cleaning procedures and protective gear, I can thoroughly eliminate biohazards and restore safety. Proper disinfection protects the health of clients and the wider public.

Real-Life Example: Cleaning up Bodily Fluids

I recently responded to a call about a home bathroom with blood on the floor and toilet from an injured resident. Here is how I systematically cleaned up this biohazard:

First, I donned a protective gown, gloves, face mask, and goggles at the scene. I covered the blood spills with paper towels to contain it. I wiped up the visible blood traces and body fluids using disposable cloths soaked in a EPA-registered disinfectant (sodium hypochlorite). I took care to scrub the toilet, floor, sink, and nearby surfaces thoroughly.

Next, I mopped the tile floor with disinfectant solution. Once the entire bathroom was wiped down, I allowed 10 minutes of contact time for the disinfectant to work. After double checking for any remaining odors or stains, I discarded the used gloves and paper towels in a sealed biohazard bag. Finally, I sprayed my shoes with disinfectant, washed my hands with antimicrobial soap and water, and removed my PPE carefully to avoid contamination.

By following safety protocols stringently, I was able to clean up and disinfect this bathroom properly after a biohazard spill. The responsible elimination of blood, bodily fluids, and other biological contaminants is all part of a cleaner’s duty. Proper PPE use, containment, cleaning, disinfection, and disposal helps safeguard health.

Key Takeaways

  • Biohazards are biological substances that can cause infection, toxicity, or allergy. They include pathogens, toxins, and human materials like blood.

  • Cleaners use PPE, containment, thorough removal of contaminants, and disinfectants to eliminate biohazards safely.

  • Following safety protocols stringently prevents the spread of biohazards. Proper cleaning and disinfection protects clients and public health.

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