Most people think that proper and safe blood spill cleaning is as simple as using a mop and water mixed with some bleach. But honestly speaking, blood cleanup is not as easy or simple as you may think. Ask any biohazard cleanup specialist and they will tell you that spilled blood can be infectious and is also very hard to clean as it has the ability to attach itself tightly to fabrics and penetrate porous materials. Because of this, a blood stain may look clean, but may still hold dangerous bacteria hiding beneath the surface. Harm/infections brought about by blood are what led the OSHA or Occupational Health and Safety Administration to publish the BPS or Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. The standard is a set of guidelines designed to protect workers from health hazards presented by bloodborne pathogens.
The BPS pushes for employers to comply with Occupational Health and Safety Administration guidelines and encourages them to come up with Exposure Control Plans if it’s highly likely that their employees and workers will come into contact with blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids while performing their daily duties at work. While most employees and workers, like those working in financial institutions and banks don’t perform duties which may bring them into contact with blood, employers still need to have the right knowledge and to set up the necessary biohazard cleanup measures to mitigate exposure in the event of bloody accidents.
The Employer’s Imperative
If you run a business, it’s advisable that you adhere to the regulations and guidelines made by ‘the OSHA in regards to biohazard waste. Complying to government regulations that place importance on the safety and health of everyone is one way of being a law-abiding citizen. Essential Items Needed to Manage Minor Spills: Before starting any biohazard cleanup process, it is vital you have the following items or materials:
- Registered disinfectant products that have a broad pathogen elimination spectrum
- Personal protective equipment
- Biohazard labels
- Biohazard bags
- Dustpan, tongs or forceps and a brush
- Disinfectant wipes
- Leak-proof sharps containers
Bio Hazard Cleanup Tips: Here is how to clean up a blood spill on a surface
It’s vital that you equip yourself with the right protective materials, such as gowns, protective eyewear, gloves, and masks to protect yourself from splashes. Make sure that the protective gear you are wearing fits well and doesn’t have any perforations to ensure that no pathogens find their way to your body.
Use the recommended materials like dustpans, tongs or forceps and a brush to remove any sharp shards of broken glass that could cut through protective gear. Make sure that you place the pieces in a leak-proof sharps container. Don’t remove any broken glass with your hands.
Cover the area with the blood spill with a cloth towel(s) to absorb the blood. Remember that the disinfectant won’t work if there is blood still covering the surface. Once the towels have absorbed as much blood as possible, throw them in a biohazard bag.
Before proceeding to the second round of cleaning, ensure that there’s proper ventilation in the room the spill happened. Once you’ve done that, pour the disinfectant on the surface and let it sit there for 10-minutes. When cleaning, scrub the spill from the outside as you go towards the center with cloth towels. Once done, discard the cloth towels in a biohazard bag.
Place another set of towels and pour the disinfectant on the surface where the blood spill was. When done, dispose of the towels by putting them in a biohazard bag and let the surface dry.
It is vital that you dispose of all the protective equipment and gear in a biohazard bag too. Seal it and place it in a second container and make sure to label it. Contact your local health department and have them handle the waste properly.
It’s advisable that you only use registered disinfectant to disinfect any reusable materials like buckets, dustpans, and brooms. Scrub the equipment thoroughly before rinsing them with water.
A final check is crucial to ensure that you are not contaminated. Check if there is any drop of blood or any other fluid splashed on your feet or shirt.
Wash Your Hands
Thoroughly and carefully wash your hands with disinfectant soap and water. You could use disinfectant wipes too!
It’s important that you complete and submit an incident report. Always do this after any cleanup. Documentation is necessary in the event of any incident.
Stephanie is a Ph.D. graduate in Biology. Aside from being passionate about providing care to those who need it, she also loves sharing her knowledge about biohazard cleanup through writing in some blogs. She helps to spread awareness on the health risk of blood and body fluids.