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Infection Control News

When a medical disaster or human tragedy strikes and you or your organization is faced with a cleanup involving biohazards or crime scene cleanup, it’s critical to find a contractor who has the training, qualifications and experience to respond properly. Unlike hazardous disasters like oil or chemical spills, biological hazards (or biohazards) refer to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms. This includes blood, bodily fluids, medical waste, viruses, biological toxins and more.

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Crime scenes, suicides, infectious disease outbreaks, hoarding scenes, and biological waste spills require specific biological cleanup response that is outside the scope of most HAZMAT cleanup contractors. When looking for a qualified biohazard cleanup company, keep these important points in mind:

  1. By law, biohazard remediation companies must comply with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard OHSA 1910.1030.
    They are qualified to deal with bodily fluids and dangerous biological threats and are required to keep written exposure control plans in place. They know how to begin with pre-qualification questions: What was the cause of death? Has there been a diagnosis? Has the DEP or Public health been notified?

  2. Biohazard remediation companies should be listed as a generator of Medical or Infectious Waste by their state’s Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Solid Waste or department of health.
    They comply with a comprehensive system that provides for the proper and safe control, collection, transportation and disposal of biohazardous waste.

  3. The American Bio Recovery Association (ABRA) is the only Credentialing body for biohazard remediation contractors who meet technical, ethical and educational guidelines.
    Companies and technicians that are credentialed by ABRA have been properly trained in how to approach a horrific and graphic scene in order to clean and sanitize and in what order to use chemicals and equipment in order to minimize the time on the job. By using ABRA certified companies’ property owners and managers can also have the peace of mind in the fact that the situation is being cleaned properly, verses a person or company that has not put the time nor investment into training, education, certifications and purchasing the right equipment and supplies.

    Another reason to use ABRA trained personnel is the reduction in liability. Diseases and bacteria are a very high potential and a reality in this business. The medical cost to vaccinate staff members is expensive and the expense of vaccinating new employee’s with high turnover. It is a very high occurrence when property managers utilize their own staff to clean a graphic scene; they end up losing that staff member and having to replace them. ABRA certified firms are required to show proof of maintaining proper insurance, OSHA compliance, Bloodborne Pathogen training records, respirator fit testing, proper handling of biohazardous waste and other laws or requirements in order to keep a good standing with the American Bio-Recovery Association (ABRA).

    Many owners and property managers have placed their companies in jeopardy by not having proper OSHA and other federal and state requirements in place, resulting in heavy fines and legal fees they need not have. Many ABRA companies have standing contracts in-place to speed-up and ease worries about paperwork and payment when you need this special service handled quickly. Just pick up the phone and call the ABRA Company closest to you or ABRA’s toll free international number at 1(888)979-2272.

    Find a list of qualified biohazard cleanup contractor here.

  4. Insurance companies’ pricing programs do not require any certification from companies claiming to provide Biohazard Remediation.
    Don’t assume because the contractor is on a list provided by your carrier that a company is qualified to safely deal with your biohazard cleanup. Insurance Carriers are only now starting to recognize ABRA credentialed firms as the industry standard.

  5. Underqualified biohazard remediators put the public health at risk – and can cost you greatly.
    Untrained responders can easily cross-contaminate structures and equipment, and may well not have sufficient insurance coverage themselves for performing work for which they aren’t certified. Moreover, YOUR insurance may well deny claims for service that does not meet the determination of coverage – leaving you responsible for payment.

If you find yourself in need of a biohazard response contractor, be sure to carefully evaluate their qualifications. To learn more, read “Biological Safety, Biohazard and Crime Scene Cleaning Contractors”.