Blood and body fluids are common in hospitals, clinics, and surgeries, so spills are to be expected. However, accidents can happen in the workplace, and you need to ensure you have appropriate measures in place. This enables you to take care of the spill quickly and efficiently.
We can all learn from the procedures in place at NHS hospitals
What Exactly Are Bodily Fluids?
The term “bodily fluids” includes blood, urine, faeces, saliva, pus, and other bodily secretions.
What Do Hospitals Use To Clean Up Blood?
According to the World Health Organisation, companies need to have procedures in place to take care of any spillages. Using water and detergent clean the area. Once visibly finished, saturate with sodium hypochlorite 0.5% (10,000 ppm available chlorine). This is a 1:10 dilution of 5.25% sodium hypochlorite bleach.
Step One: Fully Train Cleaners And Ensure They Are Wearing The Appropriate Clothing For Their Safety
The main hazard of spillage is to the individual cleaning. Therefore, it is more important that they have received the appropriate education and training in Infection Prevention and Control. Appropriate protective cloThe most important danger posed by a spill is to the individual doing the cleaning. As a result, it is critical that they have received adequate training and education in infection prevention and control.
Whenever you deal with blood or body fluid spills, make sure you wear appropriate protective clothing. This includes disposable gloves and an apron.
Step Two: Clear Up Any Spillage As Soon As Possible
It is possible that blood has splashed onto floors, walls, and all other surfaces. You need to clean them immediately with hot water and detergent. Use a disposable cloth or mop and use a hypochlorite solution, e.g. Sanichlor/Precept (10,000 parts per million is needed).
Spillages occur when an amount of blood or bodily fluids is large enough to form a puddle. These can be absorbed with paper towels that need to be disposed of into a clinical waste bin. After, mop the floor with hot water and detergent followed by a hypochlorite solution.
If spillage occurs on a carpeted area, it should be cleaned with a carpet shampooer. This should happen as soon as possible. Staff will need to ascertain whether cleaning is the responsibility of the clinical staff or of the cleaning contractor. Do not use hypochlorite solution as it will damage the surface.
Step Three: Equipment And Materials You Will Need
When preparing for spillages in your hospital, clinic, or surgery, you need to ensure that you have everything you need.
Examples of the equipment you need include:
- A colour-coded bucket.
- A colour-coded cloth.
- Single-use gloves that are suitable for chemical resistance. (Ensure they comply with the PPE Directive).
- A plastic apron.
- Paper towels.
- Chlorine-based absorbent granules.
- A disinfectant product with sodium hypochlorite solution (strength 10,000 ppm) is available.
- Clinical waste bags.
- Warning signs.
This ensures that your cleaners are wearing the correct protective clothing, whilst guaranteeing they have all the products they need. Without, they will not be able to efficiently clean up any spillages.
Step Four: Cleaning Up The Spillage Using These Steps
Follow these steps to make sure any spillage is safely cleaned up.
- Wash your hands and put on disposable gloves and apron.
- Display warning signs.
- Clear up urine or faeces spillages with paper towels. Place them directly into a clinical waste bag (which you should have ready.) Tie the bag following your organisation’s waste disposal policy. Dispose of it as soon as possible.
- Use chlorine-based absorbent granules to clean up large blood spillages. Wait for two minutes for all the blood to be absorbed and then place in a clinical waste bag.
- Prepare your disinfectant solution in a bucket. Do not mix chemicals and only use appropriate cleaning products.
- Wet a cloth in your cleaning solution.
- Disinfect the area thoroughly. Use multiple cloths if you need to. When finished, dispose of the cloths in a clinical waste bag.
- Leave the area to dry.
- Mop the area to finish.
Step Five: Dispose Of All Materials Used In Cleaning
Any materials you have used through the cleaning process need to be disposed of.
- Rinse off the tongs, brush, and pans under running water and place to dry.
- Remove gloves, apron, any protective clothing worn, and discard them.
- Wash hands carefully with soap and water, and dry thoroughly with single-use towels.
This is for your safety and the safety of others around you.
Is cleaning up a large spillage of blood a high-risk activity?
Blood and bodily fluid spillages can expose healthcare workers to blood-borne viruses and pathogens. When cleaning, you need to be particularly careful when carrying out the task. Make sure all workers are wearing appropriate PPE and the correct steps are followed when cleaning. This will help prevent the spread of any infection and guarantee a safer environment. Any spillages and incidents need to be recorded.
You can also hire a specialist cleaning service who will be able to help. If you are in a health setting, hiring an experienced healthcare cleaning company can also be very beneficial. They will have the right experience and be aware of all health and safety precautions. Their staff will also be fully trained as well as carry the right equipment to ensure the job is completed to industry standards.