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.
Discovering a death at a property is something of a shock to anyone. When this happens the first thing that should be done is to contact the police to make sure no crime was committed. The police and coroner will come to the property and remove the body from the premises and then they will release the property back to the management company or family if it is a residential home. Upon the release there is a number of things that must be understood and handled. First you will need to make sure the home is safe for other people to enter. After the body is removed there will be biohazard fluids and blood which will need cleanup in order for this to happen. At this point due to the biohazard nature and risks involved in cleaning up blood or after a death it is important to make sure you hire a company that is designated and licensed to be able to do this kind of work. That type of company is commonly referred to as crime scene cleanup even if there is no crime involved, some people refer to them as death cleanup businesses, but either way they are a specifically trained and skilled type of hazmat service that is able to handle this.
Once the crime scene cleanup people are onsite and at the property, they will complete a full evaluation of the damages. They will want to know how the death occurred to help them know what they are dealing with. If it is a suicide cleanup for example, they may have to take into account the exit wound of the bullet and trajectory of the blood splatter to determine if ceiling panels, walling, room furniture, or flooring will need to be removed. If it is a homicide cleanup, they will want to know what rooms the assault happened in according to the police and will want to know if fingerprinting dust was used or tear gas used to apprehend the assailant. Or it may be a natural or unattended death and in this case they need to know where the body was when found and how many days unattended to determine how bad the flooring may be damaged.
After this evaluation is done, they will begin the cleaning, with the primary objective being to decontaminate all affected areas. This means they must complete the death cleanup of any substances that are visible, which may be removing floor boards and ceiling panels. The next step is to sterilize the property to make sure any blood borne pathogens or other hazardous like MRSA, STAPH, C-DIFF, HIV or Hepatitis are destroyed and can no longer cause any harm to any human or animal that may soon enter the property.
As per dictionary, Crime scene cleanup is a term applied to any situation involving biological cleaning, i.e. homicides, suicides, human decompositions, pack rat houses and etc.
1. Crime Scene Cleanup:
A crime scene might be a room in a house, a street, inside of a cab or anywhere. The clean up service needs to restore the place to its normal phase. Especially this case needs to be handled by a team of professionals who can deal bio hazard and chemical cleanup.
Firstly, the cleaners inspect the scene and make a written proposal of what is to be done next. Even after the forensic investigators have taken their samples, some Bio hazardous waste, including blood, bodily excretions, etc. will be present and that needs to be cleaned skilfully. The technicians dressed with thick protective jumpsuits will collect this waste, package it up and dispose these wastes to a licensed waste company. The site is then sanitized, disinfected and deodorized to bring it to the original state.
2. Trauma Scene Cleanup:
A trauma can be psychological or physical. In either case, trauma might lead to creation of circumstances in public areas or private areas that needs clean up, which are harmful for the rest of the people around. Trauma scene cleanup often involves decontamination, clean-up, removal and lawful disposal of the medical waste contaminants. Some of the waste materials to be cleaned include:
The following are a part of crime scene cleanup:
Homicide and Other Violent Crimes Cleanup
Unattended Death Cleanup
Vehicle Blood Cleanup
Accidents and Injuries Cleanup
Hoarding / Distressed Properties / Filth Cleanup
Tear Gas Remediation
Meth Lab Cleanup
Cleanup of Anthrax & other biochemicals
Sites where incidents related to blood, unattended deaths, suicides, homicides, etc, take place, get contaminated. As blood, body fluids, fecal matter, skin, organic matter and bone fragments pose serious health risks to others, it is imperative that the sites are decontaminated and sanitized.