Commercial Biohazard Decontamination
Decontamination is the process of destroying, removing, or neutralizing biohazards that have collected upon PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), equipment, and items on a day-to-day basis and also in times of sudden biohazard exposure and clean up. It can also relate to the safe disposal of contaminated items.
Many commercial sites will contaminate as part of good workplace practices. In manufacturing, for example, machinery is regularly cleaned to prevent contaminating the goods produced. In restaurants, tables are regularly wiped down to prevent illnesses from contaminating food.
In cases of sudden biohazard contamination, however, professional decontamination crews are commonly required. A professional clean up crew will ensure the threat from common contaminants such as blood and bodily fluids, as well as greater threats such as viruses and bacteria are contained, cleaned, and disinfected, thus decontaminating the space.
All commercial sites need to have a decontamination plan included in their Site Safety Plan. This plan should cover the following:
The amount and location of required decontamination stations
What decontamination equipment is required
What decontamination methods may be required
What procedures need to be put in place to prevent further contamination
How to minimize the contact of workers with contamination sites
Have methods in place to dispose of items that are not able to be decontaminated.
If at any time changes are made to equipment or building layout, then the plan will need to be adequately revised.
Prevention is the best defense against biohazards, and workplaces need to ensure that their workers are using good preventative practices, as well as ensuring the workplace is conducive to this. Things that companies will need to consider include:
Good work practices when containment issues arise (such as avoiding entering contaminated areas or touching contaminated products)
When handling potential hazards be sure to use safe handling practices
Wearing the right PPE equipment for each job role
The Contamination Risk of a biohazard Greatly Increases If…
Personnel are exposed to the source of contamination for an extended period of time.
The biohazard is highly concentrated
The biohazard is exposed to high temperatures
The molecular structure of the hazard; smaller molecules tend to permeate through clothing and materials much more easily than larger molecules
The biohazard is a gas, vapor, or low-viscosity liquid; these types of contaminants tend to spread much more easily than high-viscosity fluids or solid contaminants.
Methods of Decontamination
Anti-static solutions can help prevent personal protective equipment from picking up contaminated dust.
Water and liquid rinses can remove surface contaminants
Scraping, brushing, scrubbing, and wiping can remove adhesive contaminants
Freezing, absorption, or melting can also remove adhesive contaminants
Evaporation may be used to remove volatile liquids
The Importance of Commercial Biohazard Decontamination
Successfully decontaminating a scene of biohazard exposure can be complex, requiring a specified knowledge of the risks of each unique hazard and specific equipment and solutions to safely decontaminate an area. This is why professional remediators are required to guarantee a space is safe for the workforce that uses it.