Crime scene cleanup
Crime scene cleanup as performed by is a term applied to specific situations involving blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). Such incidents may include:
- Primarily acts of intentional harm and/or intentional self-harm
- Combinations of a suicide and homicide(s)
- Partial bombings resulting in human pathology contaminations
- Regulated waste transport, treatment, and disposal
Television productions like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation have added to the popularity of the term Crime Scene Cleanup. Australia, Canada and England have added it to their professional cleaning terminology.
The generic terms for Crime Scene Cleanup include trauma cleaning, crime and trauma scene decontamination ("CTS Decon"), blood cleanup and crime scene clean up. The State of California refers to individuals who practice this profession as Valid Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioners.
Types of cleanup
Crime scene cleanup includes blood spills following an assault, homicide or suicide. There are many different sub-segments, named primarily after additional collateral, contingency, or preconditions, regarding the presence of non-blood borne organics, toxic irritants [tear gas, crystal velvet powders etc.]or vectors. However, it is the legality of charging a fee for mitigating blood scenes that differentiates a registered crime or trauma practitioner from any general restoration,carpet cleaning,janitorial or housekeeping service.
Costs related to crime scene clean up may be covered by property insurance. It may be covered because it is damage to the property.
Crime scene cleanup is a small business activity in most cases, very few, if any, true nationwide companies exist. At times small businesses, such as carpet cleaning and water damage companies add crime scene cleanup to diversify their activities. Due to the legal and ethical complications crime scene cleanup is becoming either its own business entity or a complete division. Those who hire a crime scene cleanup company should make sure that they are properly trained in federal or state OSHA regulations and can provide documentation of proper biohazardous waste disposal from companies such as Stericycle. If in California or Florida the client should confirm that the company is registered with the State Department of Health. As of December 2010 California and Florida are the only states that require specialized licensing for crime scene cleanup. Other states may require biohazardous waste transport permits from the D.O.T.
The crime scene cleaners' work begins when the coroner's office or other official, government body releases the "scene" to the owner or other responsible parties. Only when the investigation has completely terminated on the contaminated scene may the cleaning companies begin their task.
Standard operating procedures for the crime scene cleanup field often include military-like methods for the decontamination of internal and external environments. Universal precautions recognized Worldwide are the cautionary rule-of-thumb for this field of professional cleaning.
In the U.S. OSHA regulates this industry through its Bloodborne Pathogen Rule 1910.1030. California regulates this industry directly through the Trauma Waste Practitioners Act of 1997. Other states have a smattering of regulation for Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup usually through the State's Department of Natural Resources and Health Departments.
The generally recognized organization for this field of cleaning is the American Bio-recovery Association, ABRA. Clean Trust (AKA IICRC) is a certifying body for the cleaning trade in general.
In popular culture and the media
Crime scene cleanup as a profession in its own right has only popped up a few times in popular culture and the media. It first showed up in films when Quentin Tarantino produced Curdled, then after an eleven-year hiatus in the Samuel L. Jackson vehicle, Cleaner, and most recently when Amy Adams and Emily Blunt teamed up for Sunshine Cleaning. On television it's found its way onto a smattering of documentaries aired on The National Geographic Channel and The Discovery Channel, as well as reality series such as Grim Sweepers. In print and online it’s been the subject of Alan Emmins book Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners, been featured in an Entrepreneur Magazine Ten Off The Wall Businesses profile, and in a piece on six figure jobs that appeared on CNN.