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How to Respond to and Clean Up a Hazardous Substance

Commercial Cleaning of Hazardous Substances in DC

Commercial cleaning generally involves standard procedures like cleaning carpets or floors, dusting, or removing trash. Sometimes, though, there are situations that are out of the ordinary.

As a commercial cleaning company with decades of experience cleaning millions of square feet, we’ve encountered our fair share of commercial cleaning of hazardous substances in DC.

When it comes to commercial cleaning of hazardous substances in DC, here at The Wilburn Company, we take the safety of our employees very seriously. That’s why we adhere strictly to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standards 29-CFR 1910 guidelines when performing these response and cleaning procedures.

Some of the key components of a proper program are as follows:

The Commercial Cleaning of Hazardous Substances in DC Means Taking Proper Safety Measures

Whether cleaning a blood spill or a chemical spill, the first step in cleaning a hazardous substance is always to take proper safety measures. Doing so ensures that the substance is contained and does not affect the individuals who are involved in the cleanup.

Wear Personal Protective Equipment

When cleaning a hazardous substance, it’s mandated that employees wear personal protective equipment to prevent contact and contamination. This equipment includes items like gloves, safety glasses, shoes, and even full body suits, when appropriate. Training on this equipment is provided so that those cleaning the hazardous substance are able to use equipment correctly.

Properly Dispose of Contaminated Materials

Once proper safety measures have been taken, the next step is to dispose of contaminated materials.

The correct disposal method is dependent upon the hazardous material, but here are a few common examples.

  • Blood or other bodily fluid: dispose of all materials in a properly labeled biohazard bag with zip tie
  • If broken glass is involved: dispose of materials in a plastic container.
  • Flammable liquid: dispose of materials by using plastic scoop into a polyethylene bag

Again, training is crucial to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed for disposal. It is critical that you contact your local health department for proper disposal guidelines.

Use Proper Cleaning products and Disinfectants

After the material has been removed from the scene, the scene must be properly cleaned and, depending upon the material, disinfected and decontaminated.

If there are infectious materials involved, disinfectant must be applied to the area for a number of minutes, based on the risks associated with the material. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the labels of each product for proper cleaning and disinfecting.

The Environmental Protection Agency oversees the registration and allowance of antimicrobial products, and the Office of Pesticide Programs produces an updated list of appropriate solutions accordingly. It’s important to closely follow recommendations, because treatment with the wrong solution may render cleanup ineffective, which can have dangerous consequences.

Additionally, after site cleanup, all equipment and work surfaces should also be properly decontaminated.

Documenting the Incident

It is very important that any incident involving hazardous waste materials be immediately documented. The Wilburn Company utilizes an internal process to document all of the facts surrounding the response, clean up and disposal steps taken in these situations. This report is then communicated with all appropriate parties.

Adherence to Processes

So, what’s the overarching theme to safely addressing a hazardous material spill? It’s adhering to the correct processes.

We’ve discussed before how quality assurance and performance measurement systems are essential to making sure that cleaning is properly performed. It’s worth reiterating, though: the key to proper and safe cleaning is in the process.

Not only do these elements impact how well a building is cleaned, but they can also, in the case of hazardous material spills, impact the safety of the building’s occupants.

To view the OSHA web site for Standards 29-CFR 1910, click here.

At The Wilburn Company, we take the safety of everyone involved very seriously. To learn more about how our training and QA processes can help keep your building safe, healthy and clean, get in touch with us online, or at 410.789.3320.