Biohazard spills pose a number of safety risks ranging in severity. These are dictated by four biological safety levels set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it’s imperative to understand each if you work in a laboratory setting. Only biohazard cleanup professionals are qualified to address compromised labs, so familiarize yourself with each level and safely exit the area if an incident occurs.
BSL-1 pertains to working with microbes that don’t pose an immediate risk to healthy adults. A common example is E. coli. Lab technicians need to stick to CDC microbiological practices when openly working with a microbe. Protective equipment and access to a hand-washing facility are required.
With BSL-2, technicians work with hazards that pose a moderate risk to healthy adults. All requirements from BSL-1 apply. Those handling the agent must be supervised by others trained to handle them, and work must take place in a closed lab setting. Common organisms include those that cause HIV and staph infections.
BSL-3 pertains to settings in which potentially lethal diseases are studied, such as West Nile virus, tuberculosis, or yellow fever. You must register these agents with the government before working with them. They are often lethal when inhaled, so access to the lab is restricted. Technicians may receive immunizations before working, and air will be safely removed into a contained area. If any incidents occur, biohazard cleanup professionals need to be contacted immediately.
Ebola, the Lassa virus, and the Marburg virus are a few of the highly fatal and untreatable viruses studied in BSL-4 level settings. These are easily spread or have an unknown means of transmission. To ensure the viruses don’t escape the lab, technicians must change clothes before entering, shower upon exiting, and decontaminate all materials. These labs are in standalone buildings or highly restricted areas, and technicians must wear full-body air-supplied suits for protection.
If you need biohazard cleanup services, turn to Bio-X. Located in Aiea, HI, they’re trained to prevent environmental damage and the spread of diseases. Their highly trained staff can assist with sewage or biohazard cleanup and hazardous waste disposal. To learn more about their services, visit their website. To make an appointment or if you require emergency service, call (808) 388-6700 24/7.