Hazardous waste can pose serious threats to any company, no matter what the nature of their business. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) define hazardous substances as, “Those that are: very toxic, toxic, corrosive, harmful or irritant”. This can include many different risks, from irritants and corrosive substances, to those that are flammable or explosive.
If a hazardous substance is discovered in your business, it is important that the situation is handled carefully, ideally by professionals. As employers it is your responsibility to make sure any hazardous substance that you find is not only cleared up, but also disposed of safely with no risk to people or the environment.
If your business happens to deal directly with the general public, then your responsibility is even greater – it is imperative that you clear up any hazardous substance before it comes into contact with any staff or members of the public. On top of the very real threats to health and safety, it is likely that you will need to close down at least part of your business while the problem is dealt with. You will need to act quickly and efficiently to minimise the disruption this will cause, and limit the risk to people’s health.
A management company responsible for a branch of Tescos knew this, and when they were the victim of a strange, but vicious, attack they knew that they needed to call in a team of professionals to come and sort the problem quickly and effectively. Even before the extent of the issue was fully understood, they had called Ideal Response.
Our team arrived on site at this London branch of Tescos as quickly as possible, and were confronted with a worrying scene. A member of the public had infected multiple food items and had been seen throwing needles around the store. In this bizarre attack, it was thought that blood had been injected into food products, and obviously no risk could be taken in such a circumstance.
Initially it was thought that the attack had been focussed down one aisle, but it quickly became apparent that the entire store, other than the separate kiosk section, had been affected. The only solution was to remove the entire contents of the store.
Our team quickly set to work – sweeping for needles and carefully placing them in the designated yellow bins that we had brought with us. They were dressed in full PPE, with white suits on. As the extent of the attack was still being discovered as we swept, all necessary precaution was taken.
During our search we discovered that needles had been left in individual ready meals, which reaffirmed our thoughts that the only solution was to remove every item – the health and safety of the staff and customers had to be the number one priority.
Working as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, our team emptied the entire store to ensure that it was safe for the staff and customers to return. We swept every inch in an effort to remove every needle.
We then disposed of everything responsibly, paying particular attention to the hazardous waste. We left the store in a state from which the company could begin to restock ahead of reopening, with as little disruption as possible.