The police, fire department and crime-scene investigators who arrive at a crime scene perform crucial tasks in the aftermath of a death. But they don’t, as a general rule, clean up. The cleaning is ultimately left up to the family or loved ones. In the past, these types of cleanups would be washed up by a simple garden hose and towel, mopped up with household chemicals, or at the very best cleaned by the mortician.
In 1970, under President Nixon, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) was passed. Under this legislation, employers were to be held responsible for worker safety and their exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Although OSHA had regulation for employees contact and exposure, there was no agency to protect the home/business owners from improper cleaning procedures and illegal dumping of biohazardous medical waste. Throughout the years, OSHA and ADEQ have raised the standards for the Crime Scene Cleaning (CSC) Industry and filtered out unqualified construction, restoration, and carpet cleaning companies. As more and more of these companies stopped offering CSC because of the extensive training and compliance required by State and Federal agencies, a niche industry was born.
The CSC Industry is becoming a vital ally to police depts., fire depts., constables, property management companies, body shops, funeral homes and various state agencies, such as victims witness and homicide survivors. After a tragic incident, it is helpful to have someone unattached from the family clean the scene as it can create painful memories. Customers will have peace of mind that the scene is properly disinfected and free of any infectious diseases. CSC companies keep businesses OSHA compliant by preventing exposure of bloodborne pathogens to untrained employees.
Each state has their own rules and regulations for CSC companies. A CSC company must possess a contractor’s license from the State Registrar of Contractors. The contractor’s license is required because biohazardous waste cannot be removed from many common household building materials. For example, drywall, carpet, permanent fixtures, and other porous materials must be removed if contaminated. Secondly, a Biohazardous Medical Waste Transportation License from ADEQ or the use of a licensed waste transporter is required. Without this license, biohazardous waste cannot be properly disposed at certified facilities. CSC companies are also required to be OSHA compliant. This includes bloodborne pathogen (BBP) training, respiratory fit testing, and training, written BBP exposure control plan, and providing a method to remove and properly store biohazardous waste. Lastly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires companies to use EPA approved chemicals for the removal and decontamination of biohazardous waste.
The largest issue within the CSC industry is illegal dumping. Within the ramifications for transport, there is an underlying grey area. A company is required to possess a Biohazardous Medical Waste Transportation License or have a licensed waste transporter pick up the waste. Since most CSC jobs happen after the hour’s transportation companies are open, CSC companies who use a transporter and get a call after hours are faced with a decision. A) Pass the job onto a properly licensed company, or B) Illegally transport and dump waste. If biohazardous waste is illegally transported, it is usually illegally dumped. Proper disposal facilities will not accept waste from anyone other than a licensed transporter. Through the research of OSHA, ADEQ and EPA, we know the dangers of illegal dumping. Hepatitis can remain dormant for up to a year and is reactivated with just a drop of water. If biohazardous waste containing hepatitis is illegally dumped and made its way to a water supply, we could see a mass outbreak in our city.
Bio-Solutions Emergency Cleaning Services was created to be a guiding light in a dark industry. Not only do they possess all the required licenses, meet or exceed OSHA, ADEQ and EPA requirements, but Bio Solutions also extensively trains employees in grief counseling and trauma intervention.
The death of loved ones can come unexpectedly and can be caused by many different reasons. While most of us hope that family members or friends would pass away due to natural reasons such as aging or sickness, we should also be aware that there are about hundreds of deaths every month are related with criminal incidents.
This can be a shocking moment and no one looks forward to having this kind of experience. However, it can surely happen to anyone and this can be emotionally challenging for any individual.
Most of the time, hiring a professional crime scene cleanup team could somehow lessen the trauma. These services provide biohazard waste clean up assistance for crime-related deaths. Expert cleaners have the skill and knowledge regarding how to perform proper cleaning. For example, body decomposition can be quite risky for both the environment and health of those living in the home. With the use of the right tools and special lighting, blood, urine, feces, and other bodily fluids could be cleared from floor boards, furniture, or others. The risk here is that there are quite a number of diseases that could come if such fluids are not cleaned properly. The likelihood of acquiring HIV, Aids, Hepatitis MRSA, or any possible infections could be avoided by grieving family members.
On the other hand, a death caused by gunshot mostly means blood is splattered on the wall and floor. This is another case why hiring skilled specialists can be important because crime scene cleanup technicians know what it takes not only to clear the place but also do some necessary restoration work. Now this is the part where these professionals try to lessen the distress of families and individuals by making sure that the place becomes as spotless as possible.
Again, professionalism when dealing with these kinds of situation definitely plays a crucial part. Goggles, hazmat suits, rubber gloves, boots and other protective gear should be worn during the entire clean up process to decrease the dangers of direct contact with blood and body decomposition debris. Of course, most of the cleaners receive vaccinations in advance so they can be physically fit for the job.
Lastly, crime scene cleanup employees are mentally and emotionally trained so they can be capable in handling sensitive circumstances such as untimely or tragic deaths. They know how to deal with surviving family members and might even provide assistance to help (such as in insurance or investigation purposes) them with their specific needs.
Typically, when we think of a loved one dying, we think of it in a peaceful way, in a hospital or with a loved one at their bedside. We want to think of them in a deep sleep and in a better place. However, throughout the United States, there are hundreds of deaths a month that do not end up peaceful. Many lives are taken each month in ways that leave bio hazard cleanup need cleanup. The reason for the need of a crime scene cleanup is even if it is a natural death, clean up is required due to the blood loss, body decomposition, and debris that is left from a body. A body left sitting for more then one day or a death in which a wound occurred, such as a suicide or homicide, releases fluid that is a bio hazard.
Although a person is able to cleanup after a death themselves, the issue of safety and ability to complete the cleanup correctly comes into play. When decomposition takes place in a body, their are a number of fluids, including blood, urine and feces, that seeps from the body. This body matter can start to move into floor boards, carpeting, and furniture, depending on where the body might lay. As well, in the case of a homicide or suicide, you are dealing with a tragedy that usually involves a gun wound, and therefore, blood splatter and the trajectory of the blood splatter becomes an issue. Clean up in matters such as this may involve removing drywall, ceiling tiles, floor boards, carpeting, and again furniture that has been affected by the death.
A crime scene cleanup business uses specific tools like special lighting to determine what areas are contaminated. Technicians will then develop a game plan for what items can be picked up and cleaned and what areas must have restoration work completed. After the cleanup and restoration is done, then the contaminated material, such as furniture, walling, floor boards, and anything else removed from the home must be transported by a licensed transport unit to a nearby incineration facility. Safety must not be left behind, and so, the methods of completing this transportation safely is imperative.
Cleaning up a scene where there is any body fluid, such as blood, urine, or feces is dangerous. There are numerous diseases, such as HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis, MRSA (a highly contagious bacterial infection), and staff infections, that are carried by bodily fluids. For this reason, hazmat training is required for major crime scene clean up services to not only make sure they know how to do a death cleanup but also how to protect those cleaning up the scene. To assure the cleaners are prepared, competent, and that further tragedy is avoided during the cleanup of a death, trained crime scene clean up employees will go through many clean up simulations before they are released into the field. As well, employees learn how to wear protective gear correctly to make sure they can minimize exposure to blood and body decomposition debris. The protective gear typically includes hazmat suits, goggles, tight fitting and thick rubber gloves, and steel tipped boots. Trained crime scene clean up employees are also trained to be cautious of their environment by knowing the potential dangers. Finally, before a cleaners goes into the field, they typically have to go through a number of vaccinations and make sure all their shots are up to date. It is necessary to assure that these employees are capable of dealing with these scenes both physically and mentally.