Protecting Workers During a Crime Scene Clean-up

Violent crimes, suicides, and the likes take up a lot of time and attention. People talk about the crime for days and days—weeks in some cases—and the police investigate for months. Because of the furor that surrounds the crime and its investigation, the scene of the crime tends to be forgotten. However, these crimes take place in houses, stores, offices, etc. and some people have to go in and clean up the residual blood and human remains.

This may not be a widely known fact, but crime scenes are a major source of infections and thus choosing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital. When people pass away, whatever infections they had may be retained in their remains. As a result, crime scenes are often chock-full of biohazards including diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, Cholera, and Tuberculosis. It is important that Biohazard Remediation Technicians—those who take up the job of cleaning the scene, sterilizing it, and making it habitable for the next occupants—are adequately protected.

Here are a few ways you can protect workers involved in crime scene cleanup: 

Protection from Infectious Diseases

The job of the crime scene cleaner is to collect the residual remains in a biohazard container and dispose of them according to the regulations stipulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These remains may carry diseases and infections, putting the cleaner at considerable risk. Therefore, cleaners have to wear disposable protective apparel and other PPE to ensure that they are completely safe.

Adequate protection starts from a full-body disposable protective apparel: this starts from the head—covering both ears—and extends to the ankles. Next up are booties, also known as protective shoe covers. These are worn over shoes and they keep the shoes clean and free from contaminants. Then comes a pair of rubber gloves; these should be taped at the wrist for extra safety. The gloves are to be followed by a larger pair of rubber gloves to ensure even more protection. Last comes the face mask; this covers the eyes, nose, and mouth, with filters to keep the air clean and odor-free.  Proper PPE during cleanup efforts is vitally important.

Protection from Blood

This is a continuation from the above since most of the infections and diseases at crime scenes are found in the blood. However, it is important to give special attention to the blood because even though it is not often seen as a medium that carries disease, it does. Furthermore, at crime scenes, blood is the prevalent remains that needs cleaning up. It can be found almost anywhere; pools of it may have congealed on the floor, carpet, in mattresses, in lounges, in cracks in the wall and so on. It is everywhere, it is difficult to clean and it may carry fatal diseases and viruses.

The protection routine outlined above in the case of infectious disease also applies to blood, but in this case, some orientation is necessary. Cleaners must be enlightened about the dangers of coming in direct contact with blood found at a crime scene. They have to regard it as a principal carrier of infection; cleaners must never remove their PPE (gloves), either to scrub an item harder or to make it easier to, say, scoop blood from the floor.

Protection from Odors

Crime scenes, in general, are always redolent with a terrible smell and according to the cleaners, scenes where corpses have been left unattended to for some time are the worst. The body may have started to decompose, exacerbating a naturally bad odor. As a result, cleaners need to be protected from the pungent and gag-inducing smell. Thankfully, there is PPE (masks) that filter out odors and toxins, the most effective being particle filtration gas masks. With these masks, terrible smells can no longer interfere with the clean-up process.

Crime scene cleaning services in need of disposable protective garments can check out ViroGuard from International Enviroguard for protection against human remains and blood at crime scenes. The disposable protective apparel was designed in accordance with the personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines laid down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, the fabric used in making the PPEs passes the standards set by ASTM International (one of the foremost standards organization in the world) for blood and blood-borne pathogens. International Enviroguard also has other accessories like heavy duty shoe covers. All International Enviroguard disposable protective apparel and accessories are designed to protect your workers with Comfortable Confidence™.