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.
A homicide is the killing of one person by another person and may be viewed as an unfortunate act or justifiable. Murder and homicide are two different things as murder is usually considered a criminal act. When the crime scene investigation is finished and everyone has finished his or her work at the scene of the homicide it is time to do a homicide clean up of what is left behind. Most of these scenes involve various matter from the body such as bodily fluid so it is usually not a good scene to clean up. Depending on the crime, it can take an hour to several days to clean the scene completely to look as if a homicide never occurred there. There are a variety of jobs done at the homicide scene.
When working as a member of the clean up team it can be a messy scene so you will need a strong stomach to work for them. Many members of the team will have a medical background so they are accustomed to gore and blood. Some members may also have a background in construction or carpentry so they would help with any reconstruction that is needed. One example is when the blood seeps through the carpet, penetrating the wood underneath. After the carpet is torn up these specialists in construction or carpentry can replace the floorboards to ensure that there are no illnesses or blood borne viruses can be transferred to ones in the home after it has been cleaned.
When doing homicide clean up everyone on the team must wear special equipment to protect themselves from any contamination at the clean up scene. Normally they will use gloves, non-porous suits that are disposable, goggles, and respirators. All of these safety equipment will be disposed of after the job is finished. All of the leftover bodily material like brain matter, blood, or skin has to be collected and then transported to a special site so it can be incinerated. The clean up team has to have the proper permits and required training. They will also use special and common equipment such as:
• Various cleaners such as hospital strength bleach
• Putty knives to clean up brain matter that can quickly harden but if the putty knives do not do the job there is a special machine that has to be used to melt the brain matter so it can be picked up
• Shovels for cleaning up congealed blood
• A special ozone machine to eliminate the pungent orders that come from decomposition
• To ensure that the cleaning chemicals have penetrated a variety of surfaces they may use a fogger machine.
Proper cleanup of a blood trauma scene involves not merely the removal of all visible evidence of the blood and its droplets. A thorough decontamination program is warranted because of the byproducts of decomposition and the risk of biohazards. Accordingly a professional crime scene clean up company, homicide clean company, suicide cleaning company, blood clean company or death scene cleaner should be brought in to assess the environmental effects and perform a thorough blood scene clean up accordingly.
Professional site remediation companies, such as crime scene, accident scene, blood clean up, staph infection decontaminations, mrsa sanitation, odor removal, homicide remediation and suicide clean up companies, all use the most modern solvents, disinfectants and chemicals all specially designed to decontaminate the type of hazard a blood scene poses. These companies employ professionals and are properly trained and certified. Before employing anyone to perform blood cleanup work, you should verify that the scene cleaning company is HAZWOPER certified.
Reliance on your regular maintenance and cleaning crew to perform an accident scene, crime scene, homicide scene, blood scene, or death scene cleaning may be shortsighted. Trauma site remediation requires thorough decontamination to ensure the removal of biohazards. Enlist the types of professionals that can eliminate all chance of health risk. Rely instead on a professional crime scene clean up company, someone with experience in homicide scene clean up, suicide scene cleaning, blood scene decontamination or death scene remediation. It's the right thing to do and, in the long run, the financially prudent thing to do as well.