Decontamination Company Protocols
The decontamination process varies dependent on the type of contamination, hazards present, extent of the event, and nature of the business. That said, all decontamination projects start the same way. First steps involve learning as much as possible about what has occurred in order to protect workers and return the property to a safe and healthy environment.
How We Begin a Decontamination Project
The primary focus of efforts following a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) event is life safety. Safety plans are developed using an off-site survey, reexamined after a team goes into a building, and are continually modified as needed through consistent monitoring during the entire decontamination project. It is important to follow the guidelines set by OSHA to keep workers and occupants safe. At Flood Zone Disaster Recovery Solutions our Job Hazard Analysis, HAZCOM Program, and initial interview forms cover the guidelines set by OSHA.
Off Site Survey
Off-site surveys include researching the hazard, building, and area and collecting a detailed account of the activity that has occurred at the site. This initial part of the decontamination process also includes perimeter reconnaissance to determine potential hazards, accessibility, and potential pathways by which the hazard could disperse. The off-site survey also allows us to create an initial safety plan for the identified hazards.
On Site Survey
Only after the off-site survey is completed and a safety plan for entry is created may a team enter the building to begin the on-site survey. The goal of an onsite survey is to confirm the accuracy of the initial safety plan and to modify it as needed. Typically, an initial entry team will consist of four workers wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the hazards identified and the decontamination process required. Two workers will enter the site while the other two will position themselves immediately outside the site and serve as back up to either help remove a worker in the case of an emergency, or to seek appropriate help. Depending on the hazard, the team inside the contaminated area will complete tasks including but not limited to:
- Indoor air quality testing
- Checking for imminent physical hazards
- Identifying potential exposure hazards
- Noting important building construction features
- Initial documentation including videos and pictures
The observation in the contaminated building are written down in an organized format that the entry team is familiar with. After the onsite survey is competed and the team has decontaminated their PPE upon exiting, the newly acquired information should be reviewed with the original safety plan and modified as necessary.
During the decontamination process, the situation should be continuously monitored to identify new hazards as they arise. Thorough daily documentation using our Job Hazard Analysis, we will address newly identified hazards – an important part of the documentation process. The Job Hazard Analysis is used to communicate safety concerns at least once a day to the decontamination crew.
The initial steps of a decontamination project could take just a few hours or several weeks depending on the severity of the hazards and potential exposure. The initial surveys completed are critical to the success of the decontamination project and are the foundation for which a plan or protocol is created.