Biohazards in the Workplace

In 2004, around 1:30 PM Custodian Debbie Rothwell, was called in to clean up the bloody scene of a student that shot himself in the head inside the schools main entrance, according to Rothwell will probably call December 10 her worst day on the job. Rothwell had to remove medical supplies, brain matter, pieces of bone, and blood in the hallway. Within a few years, Rothwell filed suit against the District and Superintendent Green in 2007 claiming post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There are companies trained and prepared in the field of biohazard remediation to handle a scenario like Rothwell’s. Associations like American Bio Recovery Association (ABRA) offers a list of companies nationwide that are able to provide this type of service.

As a Certified Bio Recovery Master (CBRM), certified by ABRA, Scott Vogel, of Emergi-Clean Inc. has seen countless incidences in his 15 years.  When a remediation job revolving around a child’s death comes in you can always expect a heightened emotional reaction within your employees. Being a new father he states the emotional toll it can take on himself and/or an individual, even though we are trained can be hard to cope with. Being experienced doesn’t mean we can detach ourselves emotionally. He can only imagine how it feels for someone coming in on an incident without professional training. Other people in the industry feel the same way.

“Even if you have employees that are trained in handling blood that can fully comply with CFR 1910.1030, it is not worth the risk to expose them to the mental anguish of cleaning blood or OPIM (other potentially infectious materials),” Eric Morse, CBRM, President of Tri-State Bio Recovery stated. “This can cause severe emotional damage and will overall be bad for employee morale.”

There is a lot more involved with biohazard remediation only a trained professional should provide. If the scene isn’t cleaned properly it continues to be a health hazard for anyone that comes into contact with the area.

“Many however, try and get away with what is in the minimum standard unknowingly or knowingly putting profits ahead of proper training,” Thomas Licker, CBRM, CEICR stated from Biological Safety, Biohazard and Trauma Scene Cleaning Contractors.

If you choose to hire a contractor or other professional service provider to do the clean up, make sure the contractor has experience, and the third party credentials documenting his ability to perform this remediation. Check their references and ask the company for a proper insurance certificate.

In 20 years running a family owned and operated business, we have seen several cases that dealt with the improper handling or dealing of bio hazard scenes. Not only did their actions put the public at risk, but also their workers who weren’t taught the proper way of biohazard remediation. We here at Emergi-Clean Inc. have partnered up with ehs Inc. to conduct environmental, health, and safety training throughout the tri-state area and across the nation specializing in Bio Hazard Remediation.  All of our employees are current with OSHA 1910.1030 and HAZWOPER 1910.120 and a third party certification from the American Bio Recovery Association. Please be aware of those you hire.


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