Part one of this three-part article looks at the challenges of crime scene cleanup.

In the movie “Sunshine Cleaning,” star Amy Adams moves from maid to crime scene cleanup business owner because she hopes it will be more lucrative. Although marketed with the line “life’s a messy business,” the film is a comedy. In real life, crime scene cleanup is a lot less Hollywood and a lot more hazardous.

This work, called biohazard remediation, or crime and trauma scene decontamination (CTS Decon), covers crime scenes, suicides, natural deaths, meth labs and hoarder houses. Workers see and smell blood and body fluids. They witness the most sad and disturbing side of human existence. Yet these situations need to be dealt with and in a way that leaves scenes sanitary and keeps workers safe from contaminants.

Before starting such a business or adding these specialty services to an existing cleaning business, building service contractors should analyze if the work is right for their current outfit.

“It’s something you really want to take a close, hard look at to make sure you have the proper training, certification, equipment, chemicals and have the right people, because that work is not real comfortable to do, because you’re often in a Tyvek suit and respirator,” says William Griffin, president of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc. in Seattle. “Some people just don’t have the stomach for it.”

Cleaning a crime scene ranges from wiping up a few drops of blood to ripping out contaminated walls and ceilings, so equipment and chemical needs vary. At a minimum, BSCs will need protective gear for employees, including respiratory masks and biohazard bags.
To manage waste, BSCs will require a transport permit. Some fire departments will accept small or infrequent amounts of waste.

“If it ever becomes a lot, then contract with a medical waste transport company to come by on an on-call or weekly basis and pick up the waste and provide a paper trail to prove it was disposed of properly,” says Michael Tillman, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-authorized trainer and founder of Amdecon, a crime scene cleaner based on Green Cove Springs, Florida.

Also, cleaners may need high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration equipment if fine particulate matter is in the air where they’re working. Respirators and other protective gear may also be necessary.

Complex jobs may require additional supplies, and occasionally a crime scene cleaner may need to call in additional help as well.

“I’ve got a million dollars in equipment, six trucks and a trailer, and I really don’t get stumped too often,” says Dale Cillian, founder of Biopro, LLC, a biohazard and restoration company based in Gilbert, Arizona. “But there are things that happen.”

For example, Cillian had a case involving a contaminated concrete floor, which his chemicals simply wouldn’t clean, so he had to call in a specialist to cut away the concrete.

next page of this article:
Training For Biohazard Waste Disposal And More