Proper Crime Scene Cleanup Prevents the Spread of Infectious Waste
Crime scenes are not for the faint of heart, and properly cleaning crime scenes can be dangerous, traumatic, and essential to protecting others. Any kind of human body fluid can be present at a crime scene, and any or all of it can be contaminated with numerous infectious diseases or hazardous chemicals. Proper professional crime scene cleanup will control, neutralize, and contain any contamination.
First-responders take control of the crime scene. Once the person in charge of the scene notifies the owner or responsible party that the investigation on the scene has terminated, crime scene cleaners can begin their task.
What Does Proper Crime Scene Cleanup Look Like?
Standard operating procedures for crime scene cleanup tend to look like the military in a biological apocalypse movie. The cleaners turn everything inside-out to decontaminate all internal and external environments. What might be viewed as universal precautions in the case of managing a crisis elsewhere in the world are just another day at the office for this field of professional cleaning.
Whatever needs to be done to destroy infectious agents such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, influenza, and HIV has to be done. For example, personnel is expected to wear shoe covers, liquid impermeable coveralls, and protective eyewear. It is not optional to wear protective gloves and use specifically rated cleaning agents. It is mandatory.
However, worker safety is also a high priority. Some cleaners mandate avoiding cleaning areas that cannot be adequately seen to avoid accidents such as accidental punctures with needles or cuts with broken glass.
What Does Proper Crime Scene Cleanup Do?
Crime scene, or crime and trauma scene (CTS), cleaning is not a regulated industry. Some organizations are trying to establish industry standards; however, most CTS cleaning activities are regulated by “best practice” guidelines from OSHA, NIOSH, DOT, and EPA. If you need to hire a CTS crew, it would be best to verify they are trained according to state and federal regulations. It is also essential to require documentation for proper biohazard waste disposal from licensed medical waste transportation and disposal companies
Cleaning methods for removing and sanitizing biohazards vary from practitioner to practitioner. They vary from one circumstance to another. All practitioners consider four levels of biohazard danger:
- Level 1 will make you feel ill, but it won’t cause you to become diseased. Wear Personal Protective Equipment properly and follow safety policies.
- Examples: non-pathogenic E. coli and non-infectious bacteria.
- Level 2 involves a moderate potential for harm. Use PPE properly, be safe, and look out for co-workers.
- Examples: Hepatitis A, B, and C, Salmonella, Influenza A, mumps, measles.
- Level 3 may not, but it has the potential to kill you. Be safe. You may not get a chance to be sorry. There’s some really bad stuff out there.
- Examples: HIV, Tuberculosis, SARS, Rabies, West Nile Virus.
- Level 4 – Death is standing at the door. Waiting. It WILL kill you and everyone else around.
- Examples: Ebola, smallpox
Protocols for decontamination and the prevention of cross-contamination become more severe as the levels rise.
Protocols change according to the length of time an area has been exposed to contamination. A blood spill on a floor is a standard job unless it has been on the floor long enough to soak into carpets, run under baseboards, be absorbed into drywall, or seep between cracks in wood or other hard surfaces. Then, not only is it an immediate biohazard threat, but the threat of future contamination by the growth and spread of black mold becomes a concern, too.
OSHA requires that exposure to blood-borne pathogens be limited as much as possible in the US. It is assumed that blood and biological material is infectious. Most actions to limit exposure fall under cross-contamination protocols, which provide specific measures to avoid further spreading the contamination throughout otherwise clean areas, such as HEPA filtration, positive airflow, and showers after complete disposal of all PPE before re-entering a cleanroom. CTS De-con companies should have an exposure control plan before working on any trauma scene.
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Medical Waste Pros is the source for all the medical waste disposal services you need. Call us at (888) 755-6370 or fill out the contact form to receive free quotes for medical waste disposal services and training programs, including CTS cleaning.