Body Fluids and Health Hazards – What You Need to Know

Cleaning body fluids is a hazardous activity, but a necessary one. Body fluids can present a range of hazards that need to be considered when you encounter them, and these hazards dictate the processes we use and the precautions we need to take.

Over the years, we’ve been involved in a number of biorecovery jobs that have involved cleaning up a range of body fluids and performing needle sweeps to ensure properties are safe to both clean and occupy.

The most common body fluids we encounter are blood, faeces, urine, saliva and vomit. All of these are deeply unpleasant for our operators but we always remain professional and handle each situation carefully and methodically. Each of these body fluids and secretions has the potential to harm people and animals either through the spread of infection or exposure to bacteria, and so they need to be cleaned quickly and efficiently, with thorough decontamination taking place.

You need to be aware, even before you call a specialist like Regency, that body fluids pose a significant health hazard. Blood is still the single-most frequent source of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and viruses like HIV and Hepatitis-C. If you have a blood spillage, take care not allow anyone to come into contact with the blood and seek specialist advice immediately. Equally, if you believe there is a risk of encountering used hypodermic needles, you should be aware that these pose the same risk, since they can be contaminated with bloodborne pathogens, and require professional disposal. If you encounter needles, clear the area and control access by people and animals as far as possible, before calling for professional help.

Needle sweeping is a particular skill, with specific processes and approaches employed to keep staff and members of the public safe, and avoid needlestick injuries that can lead to infection.

You might think that other body fluids don’t pose as much of a hazard as blood, but you would be wrong. Faeces, urine, saliva and vomit all carry a risk of exposure to bacteria that could result in serious illness, as well as the transmission of virus and disease.

Choosing Your Next Commercial Cleaning Partner

If you read the title and thought ‘That’s just going to be a list of reasons to choose Regency. I’ll not bother reading it’, hopefully you’ll see that this isn’t actually an advert for our expert services. It’s a list of real-life considerations you should think about when choosing ANY commercial or contract cleaning partner.

Can they do the job?

One of the first things you need to consider is whether the company you’re talking to can actually take on the contract. There are two key factors to look at: staff levels and skills. If your requirement is modest, having the staff may be much less of an issue, but for larger office blocks and industrial premises, it’s crucial in ensuring an adequate level of service is achieved. The right number of people isn’t the whole story though. You need to have the right people with the right skills and experience. Talk to your prospective contract cleaning provider and ask them what other contracts they service and whether some of that experience will be brought to your contract. Remember, capacity and capability go hand-in-hand and your service provider should be able to perform all the tasks you need them to.

Do they take safety responsibilities seriously?

Health and safety is a big consideration in every industry nowadays. Almost every company has its own health and safety policy, and cleaning companies are no different. In fact, in some respects, it’s even more important when you consider that operatives are handling hazardous substances or working in all kinds of different environments where hazards exist. The actions of your cleaning company can also put your own staff and members of the public at risk, so don’t be shy about asking how they implement their own health and safety policy and about staff awareness in general.

Can they offer flexible services?

If your cleaning company can’t accommodate a schedule of cleaning that fits with your business operations, it makes sense to look somewhere else. Most competent commercial cleaning companies offer a flexible service as a baseline requirement, ensuring you get what you need when you need it. If the cleaners are offering cleaning schedules that get in the way of your business, then maybe it’s time to remind them that you’re the customer, or look elsewhere for your service.

Are they available 24/7?

We’re not suggesting that you have your contract cleaners on permanent standby, but it’s reassuring to know that if you have an issue like vandalism or a flood, you can call your cleaning partner and have it taken care of at any time of the day or night, so your business’ operations don’t miss a beat. Even if your cleaning company do provide 24/7 call-out coverage, look for additional costs hidden in the small print. Costs for emergency call-outs should be well-known in advance, so make sure they’re stated in your contract.