Do Your Cleaners Need a Safe Working Procedure Document for Cleaning Up After Rodent Infestation?

Dealing with Hazardous Materials

In Health & Safety, Dealing with Hazardous Materials, Safe Working Procedure Documents

Dealing with Hazardous Materials

It is essential that you firstly conduct an assessment of the risks associated with each particular type of incident. (Details of how to do this are provided in the Jangro Guide to Health and Safety).

Once an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out, you can set about adopting the correct procedures for dealing with the disposal of the hazardous waste in question. The way in which I have approached this subject is by producing the following case study which outlines a common problem and then take you through the process of dealing with it.

Please bear in mind this is a generic method statement and it is the responsibility of the reader to ensure they carry their own assessment to insure that the procedures listed are appropriate for their own site and set of circumstances

Mary works as a cleaner in a Sheltered Housing Scheme for the elderly. One of her duties is to remove black refuse sacks from the bin rooms for collection by the local bin men. One morning, whilst going about her normal duties, she comes across a dead rat in the bin room.

What Should She Do?

Although this is not a regular occurrence, Mary has been trained to deal with the situation, following her attendance on a Health and Safety training course and so is well aware of the potential risks, not least of all the chance of contracting Weils Disease

Firstly, Mary closes the door and marks it with a makeshift sign saying "Do Not Enter'; She knows that under no circumstances should she attempt to handle the rat and telephones the local authority Environmental Health Department and waits for the Pest Control Officer to arrive.

Whilst waiting, she prepares the following items:

A biohazard waste bag

  • Antiseptic spray
  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable apron
  • Anti-septic hand wipe
  • Neutral cleaning solution and bucket
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Disposable tissue

The Pest Control Officer arrives and disposes of the carcass. It is only now that Mary sets to work and she follows this procedure.

1. Before entering the work area, she puts on the disposable apron and gloves.
2. She places warning signs at the extremes of the work area to warn people of her presence.
3. She then places all of her equipment within easy reach, taking care that none of it comes into contact with the area from which the rat has been removed.
4. Using a scrubbing brush, she applies neutral cleaning solution to the area, rotationally scrubbing the area where the rat was found.
5. She soaks up the waste solution using absorbent tissue and deposits it in the waste bag.
6. Once the area is relatively dry, she applies the antiseptic solution by spraying the affected area thoroughly and allows to dry naturally, before wiping with absorbent tissue and depositing in the waste bag.

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