Scenarios such as a violent crime, suicide, a trauma scene, or an unattended death all require a lot of time and attention. People talk about the crime for days—weeks in some cases—and police officers 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 must clean up blood spills, residual blood, bodily fluids, and human remains.

There are also numerous crime scene investigators, crime scene cleanup services personnel, and law enforcement that must come into close contact with victims before biohazard removal begins and after. This is where proper crime scene PPE becomes critical for protecting all workers who come into contact with a crime or trauma scene with the biological material present.

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 present in their remains.

As a result, crime and trauma scenes are often chock-full of biohazards including diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, Cholera, and Tuberculosis. It’s important that biohazard remediation technicians—those who clean the scene, sterilize it, and make it habitable for the next occupants—are adequately protected for biohazard cleanup. Crime scene protective clothing such as full-body suits or crime scene coveralls are the first line of defense against these biological hazards.

Here are a few ways you can protect workers involved in crime and trauma 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, crime and trauma scene cleaners must wear disposable protective apparel and other PPE to ensure they are safe from blood, viruses, diseases, and blood penetration.

Adequate protection starts with full-body, disposable protective apparel: this starts from the head—covering both ears—and extends to the wrists and ankles. Next up are booties, also known as protective shoe covers. These are worn over top of shoes, and they keep the shoes clean and free from contaminants at the scene.

Next, rubber or latex gloves should be taped at the wrist and are to be followed by a larger pair of rubber gloves to ensure enhanced protection. Also critical is a face mask and often a respirator; this covers the eyes, nose, and mouth, with filters to keep the air clean and odor-free. This also helps protect the wearer from inhaling or absorbing hazardous chemicals and contaminants through their mucous membranes.

Proper PPE during cleanup efforts is vitally important for preventing the spread of disease. Protective coveralls often include features such as long sleeves with elastic wrists, elastic ankles, or an attached hood and boot. Elastic wrists and/or ankles keep sleeves and pant legs in place to prevent them from riding up and possibly exposing the skin to body fluids or harsh chemicals. These features work together to cover more of the body and to prevent skin exposure.

Protection from Blood

Most of the infections and diseases at crime scenes are found in the blood. However, it is important to give special attention to blood because even though it is not often seen as a medium that carries disease, it does. Furthermore, at crime scenes, blood is the most prevalent contaminant that needs to be cleaned up. It can be found almost anywhere; pools of it may have congealed on the floor, carpeting, in mattresses, in sofas, in cracks in the wall, on the ceiling or walls, and so on.

Crime scene cleaners must be aware of the dangers of coming in direct contact with blood found at a crime scene. They must regard it as a primary carrier of infection; cleaners must never remove their PPE (gloves), either to scrub an item harder or to make it easier to grab.

Keeping both pairs of gloves on is important because it not only helps prevent skin contact with bodily fluids, but also protects against sharp objects that may be present at the scene such as glass shards, metal fragments, needles, and so on. These sharp materials can puncture outer gloves, which is why wearing two pairs is critical for the safety of crime scene cleanup services. Wearing two pairs of rubber gloves are safer than latex gloves.

Protection from Odors

Crime scenes, in general, come with a terrible smell and according to the cleaners, scenes where corpses have been left unattended for some time (an unattended death), are the worst. The body may have started to decompose, intensifying a naturally bad odor.

As a result, crime scene cleaners need to be protected from the pungent odors onsite. Thankfully, there is PPE (masks, respirators) that filter out odors and toxins, the most effective being particle filtration gas masks. With these masks, terrible smells no longer interfere with the clean-up process.

Crime scene cleaning services in need of disposable protective garments should consider the ViroGuard® product line from International Enviroguard. This product line is engineered for protection against human remains, blood, bodily fluids, and blood-borne pathogens found at crime and trauma scenes. The disposable protective apparel was designed in accordance with the personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was also developed with input from healthcare workers to include features that enhance mobility and comfort.

Additionally, the fabric used in making the garments passes the standards set by ASTM International (one of the foremost standards organizations in the world) for blood and bloodborne 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™.