By limiting the dispersal of a biohazard within an environment, be this a home, public space, or the workplace, the spread and therefore overall impacts of biohazard exposure can be greatly reduced. This is particularly pertinent in times of infectious disease exposure where containing the exposure site is essential.
Containment Response Tiers
The CDC outlines three different response tiers which can be used to assess the risk posed by a biocontainment issue, and provide adequate and suitable responses to successfully contain the threat.
Tier 1: Is the most severe tier and pertains to germs and pathogens which currently have no viable options for treatment. It also includes germs and pathogens which have never before been identified on US soil or rarely occur within the USA.
Tier 2: Pertains to germs and pathogens which aren’t common to the specific area where the containment issue has occurred.
Tier 3: Is the lowest tier which applies to the pathogens and germs which can threaten the local population but will not become endemic.
Initial Containment Response Goals
When it comes to exposure to infectious diseases, the containment goals outlined by the CDC are as follows:
Identification of the affected patients.
The implementation of proper control measures to contain the outbreak and reduce the spread.
Asses whether the outbreak is transmitting or disseminating.
Identify the microbe that is causing the outbreak so that the information may be used to help combat the spread and treat those affected.
How Transmission Occurs and How to Contain It
Biohazards can spread rapidly when people do not practice good hygiene or take adequate precautions:
Breathing in Airborne Pathogens: One of the most common ways that illnesses are spread is through coughing and sneezing. To help prevent this, cough into the crook of your elbow and sneeze into tissues; disposing of them properly after use. Wash your hands at regular intervals.
Touching Contaminated Objects: When you’ve been ill, clean items you’ve come into frequent contact with. In the workplace, this typically includes computers and phones.
Skin-to-skin Contact: Avoid shaking hands, or wash your hands after doing so. Where possible avoid touching your face. Don’t share bottles or cups with others.
Contact with Bodily Fluids: This commonly occurs in workplace accidents. To contain the problem report any accident involving the spill of bodily fluids to your manager and do not try to clean them up yourself.
Protecting yourself is Essential
A large amount of environmental containment comes from preventing containment issues in the first place. This is one of the reasons why health and safety precautions are taken in the workplace. Some of the ways that you may protect yourself from biohazard exposure include:
Treating any situation that contains hazards with the caution that it deserves. Don’t take unnecessary risks or flaunt safety rules.
Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap. Make sure you take the time to rub the soap thoroughly into your skin to ensure your hands are clean.
When required, wear the necessary personal protective equipment as it’s there for a reason!
Make sure you adhere to the disposal methods outlines in your company’s code of conduct.
Report all incidents, no matter how minor, to your supervisor.