Specialist cleaners will confirm the cleanliness of an area upon completion with ATP swab testing, giving complete assurance that the area is not only clean, but that it’s safe.

During the call with the nephew, it became apparent that the deceased also had hoarder tendencies. Going into the house of a hoarder presents its own challenges, even without there also being a trauma incident in the same building.

Properties of hoarders are always an unknown. The items hoarded can be absolutely anything; ranging from old newspapers and wrappers right through to human excrement and urine. The reasons why people hoard are still unknown and there is currently no way of knowing just what you’ll find until you get there. Although it may seem like overkill, full PPE (personal protective equipment) is absolutely essential and the removal of items shouldn’t be attempted by those not fully experienced in hoarder cleans. Commonly – and as we would later find with this particular incident – risky items are often found when clearing a property.

With regards to this particular enquiry, we didn’t hear back from the nephew until a week later. But this time, it was because of issues with the skip that was brought in for the clearance of the house. Contaminated items — including items contaminated with human faeces — had been put into the skip. This resulted in the skip company refusing to take it as there was hazardous waste mixed in with general waste; hazardous waste requires specific disposal.

A simple error – of putting items containing faeces into a skip – had caused the customer added stress and cost. They requested that we attend site and sort through the skip, removing and disposing of all hazardous waste, which we were able to complete within 24 hours.

Certain bacteria (including E. Coli, Salmonella and C. Diff) come from contact with faeces. These bacterias can make you seriously ill and in some cases, can even prove to be fatal. They are generally very contagious and can easily be passed on to others, especially if personal and hand hygiene is lacking.

With the customer extremely happy with the response time, especially having been over the weekend, they went on to instruct us to complete the trauma clean of the house. This was carried out the following day.

The house in question was a two-bedroom property with a kitchen, dining room, living room, toilet and bathroom. Due to the nature of the job, four specialist trained technicians were assigned, complete with full PPE.

During the clean, needles and sharps were discovered by our technicians. It later transpired that the deceased was actually diabetic, which the family never knew. It’s also a prime example of how attempting to clear the house themselves could have gone horribly wrong for the family. Needle stick injuries are a real risk and should always be considered and protected against.

To help protect against needle stick injuries and other hazards, our technicians’ PPE included, but was not limited to:

• Eye protection • Respirators • Needle proof gloves and gauntlets • Tyvek coveralls • Steel toe cap boots with steel midsoles • Litter pickers • Hazardous waste bags • Sharps containers

Once the property was clear, it was then cleaned and sanitised using specialist cleaning techniques, applications and decontaminating agents including ULV fogging. Finally, ATP swab testing was carried out around the property to ensure satisfactory and safe levels of cleanliness. All hazardous waste was appropriately bagged and disposed of, leaving the customer fully satisfied and reassured that they now have a safe and clean environment.


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