Whether you are thinking about taking up a new line of work or deciding whether it is worth your money to call in a biohazard cleanup team, you may be wondering what it takes to do the job. Though regulations vary from state to state, in general, there is no particular certification required. Anyone can become a biohazard cleaner, but in reality, not everyone should. The following are the qualities and skills needed to be successful in this industry.
Possessing the following personal qualities will help you succeed in biohazard cleaning.
In this job, you will see it all, including human and animal bodies, body parts, and all manner of bodily fluids. You will learn that brain matter hardens like cement when it dries and needs to be softened and scraped to remove. You will see that a small spot of blood on the carpet can actually be hiding a huge pool of it underneath. And the odors associated with biohazard cleaning are intense. A strong stomach is required.
You are going to be called to manage all sorts of gross and overwhelming messes, but you have to always remember that your clients are having one of the worst days of their lives. Whether they are dealing with the aftermath of a death or are forced to let go of their hoarded possessions, they will need your understanding and compassion.
Willingness to Work Long Hours
Biohazard cleanup is not a 9 to 5 job. There will be some very long days and there will be odd hours. To be successful in the industry, you need to be willing to stick with it until the job is done, even if it started at midnight.
Important Professional Skills
Though there is no direct certification required to do biohazard cleanup, there are important skills to learn. There are also guidelines put in place in terms of acceptable disposal of biohazard materials. Most of these skills can be learned on the job if you can find an employer who is willing to train you.
Any employee who may come into contact with body parts or bodily fluids on the job must be trained in the safe handling of bloodborne pathogens and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The bloodborne pathogens training starts with biohazard identification, control, and avoidance. It further covers needlestick prevention, potential modes of bloodborne pathogen transmission, methods to limit exposure, and what to do in an emergency where you or a co-worker have been exposed.
The PPE training details required protective gear including biohazard suits, disposable gloves, respiratory gear, face masks, and shoe coverings. Know that OSHA dictates these items be provided to biohazard employees at no cost to them.
Understanding of Your Company’s Licenses
Though you as a biohazard cleaner do not need any particular certification, your business does require various permits and licenses that are typically determined at the state or county level. You should be able to understand the legal requirements surrounding the business so that you observe them faithfully and answer client questions accurately.
Typical licenses that are required of a biohazard cleanup company are:
- Infectious Waste Transporter Permit
- Trauma Scene Waste Practitioner Permit
- Biomedical Waste Transporter Registration
- Medical Waste Transportation Permit
- Biohazardous Medical Waste Transporter Registration
- Hazardous Waste Transporter License Certificate
As you can see, local ordinances have a lot to do with the method of transport for biohazard materials. These may also be concerned with the method and location of disposal.
Note that only Florida and California require that biohazard cleanup companies have a permit before they handle blood, body parts, bodily fluids, or any other potentially hazardous material.
If you are still with us, you might just have what it takes to become a successful biohazard cleaner. It’s a dirty job for sure, but one that gives you the opportunity to help people in some of the darkest and most stressful times of their lives. The work is necessary and it truly does make a difference. Good luck!