When tragedy strikes, families are often left with the burden of cleaning up the aftermath. Crime scene cleaners, also known as bioremediation specialists and forensic cleaners, provide professional and compassionate services to families dealing with the death of a loved one. They are responsible for disinfecting the crime scene and removing any potentially infectious materials (OPIM). This type of cleaning is also known as biohazard remediation and forensic cleaning, as it is not only used in crime scenes but also in accidents, suicides, homicides, unattended deaths, mass injuries, industrial accidents, contamination by infectious diseases, and contamination by biological hazards to animals.
A trauma cleaner, or crime scene cleaner, is a special type of cleaner who is trained to respond to a crime scene cleaning job and remove biohazardous material. Before they are allowed to enter the crime scene, trauma cleaners must be carefully examined by the hospital and the police officers with whom they will work. Cleaning companies will only be able to start their work when the investigation is completely over at the contaminated site. Crime scene cleaning began primarily as an activity of small local or regional businesses, but maturity and consolidation have created some larger entities in the industry.
There are only a few domestic companies, although some national carpet cleaning and restoration franchises have incorporated crime scene cleaning and the elimination of biological hazards into their services. Because of concern about Ebola virus contamination in the United States, the government has hired crime scene cleaning companies to clean more than just crime scenes. Some states require registration or licensing to clean up a crime scene. While the field of crime scene cleanup is not specifically regulated as a class, most activities carried out by biological hazard cleanup teams in the United States are regulated or governed by best practice guidelines of governmental and advisory bodies such as OSHA, NIOSH, DOT and EPA.
Those who hire a crime scene cleaning company should ensure that they are properly trained in applicable federal and state regulations and that they can provide documentation on the proper disposal of biohazardous waste issued by authorized medical waste transportation and disposal companies.