Accidents of all types can happen in a workplace. These include incidents in which human feces can end up contaminating the floor or some other area at a business or some other location where people work and the public access. There are important issues to bear in mind when human feces contamination occurs and the need to cleanup the waste exists.
The idea of cleaning up human feces typically is not on the radar for most business owners, managers, or human resources directors. Cleaning up human feces becomes something ignored or never considered and is dealt with on something of an ad hoc basis should the need ever arise. The reality is that taking this approach and not having a plan should (when) human feces contamination occurs leaves employers, employees, patrons, vendors, and others at considerable risk. This includes a health risk. However, when it comes to businesses, not having a plan of action to deal with human feces cleanup also presents a potential legal risk for unprepared enterprises as well.
Dangers of Human Feces
Human feces are dangerous. Before diving into a consideration of human feces contamination in the workplace and the need to clean up the waste, understanding these dangers is important. Human feces can carry a number of different hazardous pathogens that have the potential to cause health problems if a person is exposed to this type of waste. These include:
- C. diff
- E Coli
- Hepatitis A and E
Proper Tactics to Clean Up Human Feces
The proper tactics associated with human feces cleanup includes:
- Use of proper personal protective equipment or PPE
- Use of proper equipment as well as cleaning and sanitization agents.
- Physical removal of human feces
- Scrubbing of the contaminated area
- Sanitization of the contaminated area
- Deodorization of premises
Provided that human feces contamination is not a widespread problem in a place of business, and assuming these steps are followed, an employee or employees of a business (with proper training) can undertake this task. If human feces contaminate a business because of a more significant sewage issue or a flood, professional human feces cleanup and sanitization is the recommended course, as is discussed shortly.
Employee Policies and Human Feces Cleanup
A true to life scenario underscores the need for a specific workplace policy to address a matter like human feces cleanup. This is not a situation that can be left to happenstance should the situation arise.
In this case, a person on the autism spectrum is an employee of a retail store. During the course of the workday, human feces ended up contaminating a hallway in the store. Odds are the unsanitary defilement was the result of a customer’s conduct.
A manager of the store handed the employee on the spectrum a pair of gloves and told the young man to clean up to the “mess.” The employee had no prior instruction on biohazardous waste cleanup. The employee was not provided appropriate personal protective equipment which is a must-have when it comes to the task of human feces cleanup and sanitization. Indeed, as will become evident in a moment, the employee wasn’t even provided appropriate equipment, tools, and agents to clean up and sanitize the area contaminated by human feces.
As an aside, because the employee is on the autism spectrum, an issue regarding reasonable accommodation of a worker required by the American with Disabilities Act or ADA likely also comes into play when it comes to legal mistakes made by the management of this business.
The bottom line is that an employee who has not been appropriately trained in cleaning up and sanitizing a biohazardous situation like the remediation of human feces in the workplace is neither practically nor legally in a position to undertake this type of task. If a business wants to have the capability of cleaning up a biohazardous situation like human feces in the workplace, the owner or manager needs to be certain that a designated worker or team of workers has the specific training necessary to undertake this type of effort effectively and safely. In addition, a worker who is designated to undertake this task must receive ongoing refresher training to make certain that the individual remains up to speed on what needs to be done to undertake a task like human feces cleanup.
Any employee who is designated to undertake this type of work should volunteer for this type of cleanup work. Biohazard remediation like cleaning up human feces should not be imposed on an unwilling employee.
Professional Human Feces Cleaning
As mentioned previously, if contamination by human feces is more extensive, professional remediation should be obtained. By engaging a professional biohazard remediation company, a business best protects its employees and others. In addition, a business places itself in the best possible position of ensuring that more significant human feces contamination appropriately is cleaned up and sanitized.