Crime scene and trauma cleaning – are you prepared?
Unexpected and shocking by their very nature, crime and trauma scenes should only be dealt with by experienced professional crime scene cleaners.
Who is responsible for crime scene cleaning?
Many people are still under the impression that police or emergency services clean up crime scenes, but this is simply not the case. Once the scene is processed for evidence and released by police, the property owner or premises manager is responsible for making sure it is professionally cleaned — even when the crime or trauma involves blood or other bodily fluids.
Facilities Managers will be fully aware of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, and their legal duty to protect the health and safety of employees and anyone else that may be on the premises. This also includes a procedure for reporting an incident involving a biohazard as part of their Health and Safety plan. The plan should evaluate the risk of infection from exposure to body fluids and detail the procedure for decontaminating the area and removing the hazardous waste.
Are you in a high-risk industry?
Prisons and hospitals may seem like seem like the obvious places where a body fluid biohazard would occur. But any location where people experience strong emotions such as sports stadiums or betting shops and of course pubs and clubs where alcohol is involved, are considered high-risk areas for violent crime, forensic and trauma scenes.
The reality is that violent crimes and accidents that result in a hazardous body fluid spill can happen anywhere. A significant proportion of violent assaults take place every year in and around the victim’s workplace.
It is important to complete a risk assessment to establish how likely your premises are to require crime/trauma scene cleaning. It’s even more important to act on that information. Source a reputable emergency cleaning company and understand the range of services they offer before you need them.
Situations that require professional decontamination
The words crime scene or trauma cleaning immediately evoke images of violent assaults and homicides where blood is spread over a large area. In this situation, crime scene cleaning technicians will remove the blood and sanitize the contaminated area. What people don’t realise is they will also work with loss adjustors to assess the need to remove all absorbent material, including carpets, chipboard, floorboards, paper documents or retail stock as it is unlikely these can be cleaned.
Suicides, especially where individuals have thrown themselves from high buildings or in front of trains, are likely to involve body tissue or even body parts spread over a wide area. Incidents where an individual is self-harming may also create a biohazard.
Undiscovered deaths need specialist cleaning to remove decomposing bodily fluids and matter that has seeped into the fabric of the building. There will almost certainly be flies and maggots requiring professional pest control.
Arson requires highly technical cleaning and fire damage restoration methods as fires create a complex series of problems that need to be resolved including soot, smoke damage and potentially poisonous fumes.
Despite stringent health and safety procedures, accidents do happen in the workplace. It is likely that the impact on other employees and members of the public who witness the accident, or its aftermath, will be significant. It is essential to work with emergency cleaning technicians who are tactful and sympathetic.
Why call in an external company?
Expecting regular staff to deal with a traumatic incident is ignoring their safety and wellbeing and there could be legal repercussions if you try to take care of the situation yourself.
You need the assurance that a professional emergency cleaning service will manage and resolve the problem efficiently while enabling you to maintain business operations as far as possible.
Crime and trauma scenes involving biohazards are complex situations. A professional emergency cleaning team will carry out an accurate and thorough site assessment and give honest, practical advice about what is required. Experienced crime scene cleaning professionals will know exactly what to do. They will possess a solid knowledge of the relevant legislation and the actions required to comply with the law.
On a practical level, professional biohazard cleaning technicians will have training and experience in dealing with biohazards. They will have the correct tools, products and personal protection equipment and be thorough and diligent. They will maintain extremely high standards and should have the capacity to deal with a situation as extreme as an Ebola outbreak.
KPIs for an emergency cleaning service
It may be stating the obvious, but the key performance indicator for an emergency cleaning service really is speed of response. In a crisis, you must receive a fast and efficient response to your emergency call. Emergency cleaning professionals should be on the scene within hours to deal with biohazards.
Emergency cleaning technicians will start working with your crisis management team immediately to develop a plan for keeping premises open if possible while sealing off and sanitising contaminated areas.
Every stage of the cleaning process will be documented and recorded according to needs of loss adjustors and insurers.
Professional crime scene cleaning technicians are highly trained, extremely knowledgeable people who will effectively become part of your crisis management team. They will understand your business and operate at a very high level to ensure business continuity. They will also be mindful of your business processes, especially any developed under ISO 14001 and work to your quality standards.
Possibly most important of all, professional emergency cleaning technicians will act with discretion, professionalism and sensitivity at all times, even in the media spotlight and in public situations. The majority of crime and trauma scenes will not attract media attention but violent assaults, homicides, suicides and undiscovered deaths are likely to. Professional crime scene and trauma cleaning technicians will always display respect for the victim and compassion for affected staff and members of the public. They will not discuss details of the crime or trauma with the media or people outside the company.
We are a nationwide specialist emergency cleaning company. For information on crime scene, biohazard, fire and flood damage cleaning, call 01283480930 out of hours 07505547812