Cleaning Areas Exposed to Bloodborne Pathogens

Blood spills of any size are assumed to have bloodborne pathogens present. People around the blood spill, workers who clean up the spill, and anyone who will occupy or move through the spill location in the future, have to be protected by cleaning up the spill. It is mandated for the workplace by OSHA. A trained biological remediation team will use special materials to ensure the blood is cleaned up wholly and safely. How do they do it?

1) Identify The Spill and Secure The Area 

The spill area will be cordoned off to prevent anyone from walking through and contaminating a larger area with blood on the bottom of their shoes. Yellow caution or red biohazard tape works well, but floor signs, buckets, or even straddling the area works if the spill is small.

2) Protect Themselves from Bloodborne Pathogens

2) Protect Themselves from Bloodborne Pathogens

Workers will put on disposable bodysuits. They use the suits to protect themselves from possible contamination during the clean-up. Many suits are made with hoods and booties to ensure complete coverage. Face shields are put on to protect the face and eyes. Latex gloves are used with elasticized sleeve cuffs on the bodysuit pulled over the tops of the gloves. Workers look overdressed. However, overdressing makes more sense than being vulnerable to infection and chronic personal health problems or death.

3) Clean Up the Area

Workers use special absorbent cloths to remove the blood from the surface. If the spill is on a hard surface, cloths will remove almost all blood. If the blood is on a porous surface, the area can be blotted to absorb as much blood as possible.

4) Disinfect The Location

OSHA requires the spill area to be disinfected. A broad-spectrum disinfectant will be applied to the site. The EPA identifies 67 chemicals that will kill bloodborne pathogens. In the absence of a broad-spectrum disinfectant, bleach can be used. Bleach needs to be mixed at a concentration of no less than nine parts bleach for one part of water (9:1). The bleach must be allowed to remain on the spill area for 25 minutes. Note:  remember, bleach is likely to discolor surfaces.

 If the spill happens on a porous surface, a brush will be used to agitate the surface before the disinfectant is picked up with an absorbent cloth. If the area is not clear of blood residue afterward, the process can be repeated, or the site can be cleaned normally.

5) Dispose Of Cleaning Materials And Disinfect Equipment

5) Dispose Of Cleaning Materials And Disinfect Equipment

Cloths should be contained in a red biohazard waste bag immediately after use. Any other devices, such as a brush or a mop head, should be disposed of in the bag. After the clean-up, workers will remove the face shields and biohazard suits and put them in the bag. If the outside of the bag is contaminated, it will be placed inside another bag.

The last things to come off are the gloves. They are dropped in the bag, and the bag is sealed and ready for the proper medical waste disposal protocol. Any equipment used for a large spill, such as mop handles and mop buckets, will also need to be disinfected.

If You Would Like Help with Your Bloodborne Pathogen Cleanup, Give Us a Call!

Do you need to clean up a blood spill? Do you need bodysuits, disinfectants, or blood clean-up kits? Help with training personnel for medical waste disposal? Your source for services, supplies, and training is Medical Waste Pros. To get started, give us a call at (888) 755-6370 or fill out the form. We will be in touch as soon as possible!