Cleaning Blood and Body Fluids

Caring for an accident victim is just the start of eliminating the risk of bloodborne diseases from an accident area. A potential hazard still exists until the entire area is cleaned of blood and body fluids*, and the contaminated cleaning eqipment has been disinfected or disposed of safely. Only designated and trained individuals should clean up blood or body fluids. Contact your supervisor or resident advisor for the designated individual in your area.

Safe Housekeeping

Whenever you clean up blood or body fluids:

  1. Restrict access to the area.
  2. Wear gloves (latex or nitrile) to protect your hands. Avoid tearing your gloves on equipment or sharp objects. Torn gloves should be replaced immediately.
  3. Use additional personal protection equipment, as needed (e.g., leak-proof apron and/or eye protection).
  4. Use disposable towels or mats to soak up most of the blood.
  5. Clean with an appropriate disinfecting solution, such as ten parts water to one part bleach. Bleach will kill both HIV and hepatitis B virus. After cleaning, promptly disinfect mops and any other cleaning equipment, otherwise, you may spread the viruses to other areas.
  6. Put all contaminated towels and waste in a Red Bag or other appropriate sealed, labeled (Biohazard symbol or label), leak-proof container. This is regulated waste; call Environmental Management (323-6280) for pickup.

Be Prepared

  1. Always wear gloves whenever there is the slightest risk of exposure to blood.
  2. Be alert for sharp objects, such as broken glassware or used syringes, when emptying trash containers.
  3. Don't pick up broken glass directly with your hands. Use a brush and dustpan.
  4. Be sure to wash hands and remove any protective clothing before smoking, drinking, eating, applying cosmetics or lip balm, or handling contact lenses.

* Includes human blood, semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, tissue, and organs. Also includes any other human body fluid (urine, feces, nasal secretions, vomitus, etc.) that is visibly contaminated with blood.

EH&S Fact Sheets | Industrial Hygiene
Last Updated 11.03.03
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