Biohazard cleanup is an extremely complex form of cleaning and restoration. Not only does it always involve some sort of traumatic, emotional event, it also poses a great risk for everyone involved– from the insurance adjuster, to the biohazard remediation company, and at last, the property owner that has been deeply affected by a tragedy. There are many cleaning and restoration companies that offer biohazard cleanup services, but before you consider them, you must understand that only companies that actually specialize in biohazard cleanup truly understand the science behind biohazard waste removal and decontamination. In any instance where you need these types of services, consider the following challenges of bioremediation and understand the standard protocol which every biohazard technician must comply with.
The Obstacles of Biohazard Remediation
Every type of property damage is a pain to deal with. Whether it’s from water damage or cleaning up after a fire, there are always obstacles to deal with when restoring your property from damage. However, nothing compares to situations involving biohazard remediation, like murder, suicide, and unattended death cleanup. Because of potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens, biohazard cleanup poses major health risks to the property owner and the biohazard cleanup technicians assigned to handle the blood cleanup.
Key Risks Associated with Blood Clean Up
- 1 out of 24 people are carriers Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV.
- More than 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV; 1 in 8 of them don’t know it 
- Bloodborne pathogens can survive up to 16 days after death (depending on temperature and environment) 
Unfortunately, these pathogens are more common than many realize and there are several ways one can be exposed to these pathogens: via direct contact with ‘broken’ skin and in many cases, exposure from splashes of biofluid through the mouth, nose, or eyes. Due to these risks, it is imperative that property owners avoid attempting DIY blood cleanup and that you hire biohazard cleanup professional that will comply with safety regulations and proper decontamination protocols that the average restoration service company won’t be trained on.
Not only is exposure to bloodborne pathogens a risk, but there are also hidden dangers that the average property restoration franchise won’t address. Traditional property damage companies that deal with water damage typically look for visible damage, such as warped floor boards, mold issues, or unsalvageable drywall. The method of inspection is all visual and generally effective for water damage, but blood and biohazard cleanup is whole a different story. In contrast to water, blood has a way of finding its way into grout and between floorboards, all the way down to the subflooring. Unlike the procedure for traditional property damage, the only way to resolve blood cleanup sometimes is to remove all the affected materials. Simply wiping down tiles or installing new wood floors over a blood spill will result in hidden biomatter spreading disease, releasing odors, and causing continued damage to the property.
The Hidden Dangers of Improper Biohazard Cleanup
We know cost is a major concern to not only the property owner, but also the insurance professional handling a bioremediation claim. Performing a blood spill cleanup or biohazard remediation of any kind in one room can cost more than recovering a completely flooded home. This often creates the temptation to retain a well-known, traditional restoration company at a lower cost, instead of properly trained hiring biohazard cleanup professionals. Doing so can put the insurer at risk for a major lawsuit.
There have been many notable cases where an insurance company retained a traditional property restoration company to handle biohazard cleanup situations. Whether it was an attempt to cut cost or due to negligence, the insurer can be held liable for improperly executed restorations.
Most general cleaning companies cannot properly sanitize damages from murder, suicide, unattended death, or any damage involving bio-fluids, such as pet death. When improperly sanitized, homeowners and property owners can end up experiencing continued odors and the exposure to biomatter via inhalation can increase the risk of illness. Consequently, this creates situations where the policyholder sues the insurance company for further damages and in many cases, a lawsuit to replace the entire property due to being deemed inhabitable.
Tips on Evaluating Bioremediation Companies
Before retaining a bioremediation company, insurance providers need to ensure they have a broad understanding of what qualifies a company to handle biohazard cleanup and fully contaminate property damage due to blood spills or other tragedies.
Key Attributes In Determining A Qualified Bioremediation Company
- OSHA Compliance – OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation. The regulations they enforce are put in place to protect the employees involved in the biohazard cleanup, as well as everyone else affected by such tragedies. Ensuring that all supervisors and their technicians within the company are trained in the proper OSHA programs is crucial when retaining services. These programs include: Bloodborne Pathogens, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Hazard Communication, Asbestos Awareness, Heat Illness, Fall Protection, Lift Safety, Lock Out – Tag Out, and Power Tool Safety. Many restoration companies only comply with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standards, instead of all of the preceding programs mentioned.
- Sensitivity Training – Generally, all property damage is difficult to deal with. Whether it’s water damage due to a busted pipe or fire damage due to bad wiring in your home, regardless of the extent of the damage, it will affect your life indefinitely. However, loss of a loved one is traumatic, beyond compare and dealing with family members in these trying times calls for special sensitivity training. In contrast to most damage restoration companies, biohazard cleanup technicians deal with tragic, life-altering situations on every job they perform. It is imperative that the technicians be trained in sensitivity, whether it be eliminating alarming language from their vocabulary when on duty or speaking emphatically to the family members present on site.
- Reporting – The documentation and cataloging of the entire process, from start to finish, is crucial for a company to include within their package of services. This not only includes detailed documents of the job, but also still photographs surveying all the damages so that there is complete understanding between the policyholder and insurance company on what is being performed. Each job requires a different level of service, whether it’s structural materials being replaced, belongings being disposed of, or even the amount of protective equipment being used on the job. All of these factors affect the cost and proper reporting is indispensable to everyone involved.
- Federal & State Environmental Agency Compliance – Biohazard waste disposal must be in accordance with federal, state, and local disposal regulations. Choosing a biohazard remediation company that is licensed to transport medical waste will not ensure that the job is performed completely, but it will negate the need to retain another company for biohazard waste disposal. There are massive fines when biohazard materials are not disposed of properly.
Due to the lack of laws protecting policyholders from improperly executed biohazard clean up, the responsibility falls on the insurance company to retain the right biohazard remediation company. More often than not, the person needing biohazard cleanup has experienced a traumatic event that will have them in an emotional state. Peace of mind is priceless, especially when dealing with a person that has experienced the loss of a loved one, so ensuring the biohazard remediation company chosen to do the job meets all the requirements is fundamental.
Advanced Bio Treatment meets all of these qualifications and more. To see all of our certifications and to find out more about our company, please read our FAQ.