The risks posed by needles and other hazardous waste are serious – both to people and the environment. If not handled correctly, needles can cause life threatening diseases – all it takes is for one needle to pierce the skin and any number of blood-borne viruses can be transmitted, including Hepatitis and HIV.
The risks are of course much greater when you encounter needles and other hazardous waste in a squat. You cannot be sure what the needles have been used for, and you can never be sure where you will find them amongst the mess. It is a situation that needs to be handled carefully, ideally by experts.
When a building consultancy company discovered that 14 individual derelict properties had all been occupied by squatters, they were well aware of the risks that clearing the properties, ahead of their demolition, would pose.
With that in mind they put a tender out to companies for the job of removing the hazardous waste, including the needles and drug paraphernalia. In a competitive market, they decided to go with the company that priced well, and were able to fulfil the broad scope of the work.
They chose Ideal Response.
Our team arrived onsite and, due to the dilapidated nature of the buildings, were given a full site induction. It was also requested that they all held CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) cards, which they did.
As they were shown around all 14 semi-detached properties, the scale of the problem became apparent – every property had been occupied by the squatters, and it seemed that every inch of each property had been affected – including the gardens, sheds and outbuildings.
As you would expect, the houses had been left in an incredibly untidy state, so no chances could be taken when it came to precaution. Our teams wore full PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) as well as needle gloves, and they had needle pickers and sharps bins on hand for when they encountered any needles.
It was a dangerous environment to work in – there were actual holes in the floor of many of the properties, which were not all obvious due to the amount of clutter and broken furniture. This was on top of the risk of encountering needles or other hazardous waste in every corner of the property.
In total our teams of between 6 and 10 workers were there for 10 days to complete the work. Not only were we able to remove all of the hazardous waste, and dispose of it safely and responsibly, but we were also able to completely clear all 14 properties so that they were in a state for the next stage of the work.
We were also able to close every opening on the properties with steel fortifications, so that this problem will not reoccur to halt their work any further. We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with this client as we constantly push to exceed their expectations.