Firefighters Question Requirement to Clean Biohazards
The labor union representing Detroit, MI, firefighters has issued a complaint with the Michigan Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding a new requirement set by the city last week that firefighters clean blood and other bodily fluids from accident scenes without proper training or equipment, the Detroit Metro Times reports.
The new requirement has firefighters and medics using hoses to wash blood and other bodily fluids down sewer drains and collecting bloody clothing and other materials to take to the firehouse in a biohazard waste bag. Previously, emergency officials relied on professionals trained in biohazard remediation to clean blood and clothing stained from body fluids from accident scenes. These professionals also tested the area after cleanup to ensure it was properly disinfected.
Union officials say they are concerned about the safety of firefighters and medics, who do not have the proper training and equipment to avoid becoming infected by bloodborne pathogens, as well as the safety of the public who may come in contact with areas that have not been properly cleaned.