Knowing the Risks & Reaping the Rewards of Biohazard Cleanup

Restoration firms providing biohazard cleaning services need special training and insurance coverage to manage the additional risks associated in performing this type of work.

When most restorers read the word biohazard, they immediately think of crime scene cleanup, which is a relatively new specialty in the restoration business. The IICRC is in the process of developing a special standard for biohazard work. Restoration firms get involved with biohazards more frequently than they think. However, the insurance you need to cover that work varies from a typical commercial cleaning project.

The current IICRC S500 Professional Standard for Water Restoration and the S520 Professional Standard for Mold Remediation contain good advice on managing the risks associated with mold and bacteria-contaminated category 3 water. Both have biohazard risks associated with them. In many ways, the biohazard job site resembles an asbestos abatement job site. 

There is a lot more written on safe job site procedures for asbestos abatement than biohazard remediation. If a biohazard project is run like an asbestos abatement job, the exposure risks to employees and occupants would be low. Cost becomes a constraint in trying to treat every project with category 3 water like an asbestos abatement job. Especially with claims adjusters treating category 3 water jobs as if they are all category 1 water. It is actually uncommon for a claims adjuster to even know the categories of water as detailed in the IICRC S500. Referencing the asbestos abatement protocols, however, is still a good place to get ideas on job site safety and loss prevention. 

There is an interesting quirk in the risk management picture between asbestos abatement and biohazard work; an asbestos abatement contractor’s liability insurance usually does not work very well for biohazard work. As you have heard us say before many times, the insurance coverage sold to nine out of 10 cleaning and restoration firms does not work very well either for biohazard work. 

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