Biohazard cleanup crews specialize in removing and cleaning harmful substances from businesses and homes. But what is biohazard cleanup, and what does it involve? The team at Restorerz is here to tell you everything you need to know about cleaning biohazards.
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Biohazard is short for “biological hazard” and refers to materials and substances that are harmful to animal and human health. Biohazards include a wide range of common and uncommon substances, such as mold, fungus, waste, industrial chemicals, or pests.
Biohazard cleanup is the specialized removal and disposal of these kinds of harmful substances. Biohazard cleanup requires special equipment and techniques due to the nature of the removed substances. Biohazard cleanup is also a core part of crime scene management.
In the US, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) identifies four biohazard levels based on how much risk and danger they pose. Substances in different biohazard levels require different cleanup procedures and safety precautions.
- Level 1 – Minimal Threat
- Level 2 – Moderate Threat
- Level 3 – High Risk
- Level 4 – Life-Threatening
Even Level 1 hazards can cause disease in humans, so homeowners and employers must take all biohazards seriously. Below are some common examples of different types of hazardous substances.
- Bodily fluids (fluids that transmit disease, e.g., saliva, blood, urine, feces, bile, etc.)
- Bacteria and other infectious agents (e.g., HIV, tuberculosis, Ebola, etc.)
- Animal waste/byproducts (e.g., carcasses, droppings, pests, etc.)
- Medical waste (e.g., tissue samples, lab cultures, surgery/autopsy byproducts)
- Fungus and mold (e.g., black mold, aspergillus, chaetomium, etc.)
Situations That Require Biohazard Cleanup
So, what is biohazard cleanup, and when is it necessary? If you have a situation involving any harmful biological or chemical substance, you will need a biohazard cleanup crew. Common situations that might require a biohazard removal team include:
- Body cleanup after homicide, suicide, or unattended death
- Blood, fluid, and viscera from traumatic injuries
- Crime scene cleanup
- Chemical contamination from industrial accidents
- Locations with disease outbreaks
- Sewage back up
- Fungal and mold infestations in old properties
- Pest or animal infestations and animal byproducts
How Does Biohazard Cleanup Work?
The biohazard cleaning process is much more in-depth and thorough than regular cleaning. Biohazard cleaning crews have the training to catch common spots that routine cleaning overlooks, like wall siding, door handles, light switches, table undersides, and more. Biohazard cleanup must be precise because even small waste remnants can cause harm.
Most cleanup jobs start with the team creating a clean zone where they can enter and exit the contaminated area without spreading waste. After donning appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), they will identify affected areas and start removing the primary biowaste mass before cleaning all affected areas.
Afterward, removal teams will dispose of the waste according to local regulations before performing final safety tests. Most states have specific rules for disposing of bodily fluids and other biological waste. Removal methods may involve proper bagging and warning labels. Depending on the scope of the contamination, cleanup can be time-consuming.
Biohazards often have destructive properties, so a good portion of cleanup will involve removing damaged objects, like floorboards, carpets, or wall sections. Moreover, most biohazard contamination occurs in areas poorly suited for sterilization and cleaning. Unfortunately, some contaminated surfaces might sustain damage beyond recovery and require replacement rather than restoration.
Biohazard Removal and Crime Scenes
The majority of the criminal justice apparatus relies on small, independent contractors for crime scene cleanup and removal. There is no centralized coordination over who cleans crime scenes, so many police departments rely on referrals from other departments and local companies.
Crime scene cleanup can involve homicides but also involves meth lab sterilization and the removal of products of criminal activity. Most jurisdictions have relatively few regulations on how biohazard situation cleanup occurs but do have rules about the transportation and disposal of waste materials.
Biohazard Cleanup FAQ
Below are some of the common questions about biohazard cleanup that we receive.
How Long Does Biohazard Cleanup Take?
Most biohazard cleanup jobs take a few hours at minimum. However, actual cleanup times depend on the type and severity of the hazard. Some cleanup jobs may take a few days to complete.
Does Biohazard Cleanup Require Certification?
No, biohazard cleanup does not require official education and certification. Most biohazard cleaning employees receive OSHA training and on-the-job experience removing hazardous materials. However, cleanup crews must abide by local and state regulations for biohazard disposal.
Can I DIY Clean Biohazard Waste?
Homeowners and business owners might want to DIY clean biohazardous waste to save costs, but we do not recommend it. Biohazard removal requires specific cleaning materials and removal methods. Professional cleaning crews have training and experience handling a wide variety of removal jobs. Additionally, improper disposal of certain hazardous materials can be a crime, so it’s a good idea to hire an expert who knows the proper disposal methods.
Will Insurance Cover Biohazard Cleanup?
Yes, most homeowners insurance policies will cover cleanup costs due to suicide, crime, unattended death, medical emergencies, and infectious agents. Your insurance policy may also cover mold removal and cleaning if it results from a covered peril.
Does Hoarding Count as a Biohazard?
Yes, hoarding behaviors often involve biological substances and other hazardous materials. Mold, fungus, and growths are other common results of hoarding behaviors. Depending on the scale of hoarding and the damage, you may need to hire a biological hazard cleanup crew.
How Much Does Biohazard Cleaning Cost?
Biohazard cleanup costs can vary significantly but typically average about several thousands of dollars. Biohazard removal is expensive because of the need for PPE and specialized sterilization tools/techniques. Biohazardous materials may also cause property damage to floorboards, walls, yards, and furniture.
Hazardous Material Removal and Restoration
Now that you know the answer to “what is biohazard cleanup,” read our blog to see answers to other questions about biohazard removal, such as “when do you need mold remediation?” Contact Restorerz online or call today at (323) 997-4978 to schedule emergency damage restoration services!