Crime scene safety should be the utmost priority for trauma scene cleanup service experts, crime scene investigators, and evidence collectors. This is because these scenes put experts at high risks each time they enter a crime scene. Exposure to harmful pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis makes the risk of infection exponential. This is why trauma scene cleanup service experts are expected to strictly follow all safety and health-related workplace practices.
Trauma scene cleaners are exposed to potential blood borne pathogens and human biohazards on the job and as such should know their specific risks, rights and responsibilities, specifically in relation to blood borne pathogens. This is not the time to be complacent. Rather, it is time to sit up and make sure you are protected before hitting the crime scene for cleanup. Every trauma scene cleaner should take their health seriously.
Risks Associated with Blood borne Pathogen
Each lifeless body at the crime scene carries an unknown risk to trauma cleaners and other first responders at the scene of the unfortunate event. Also, the cause of death can affect the way pathogens spread. Some cases are more obvious like suicides and murders. These death scenes leave spatters of blood, bodily fluids and tissues at the scene. Trauma scene cleaners must protect themselves from exposure to these harmful pathogens and biohazardous fluids.
Another case that should be given top priority is unattended death. It worsens when dealing with advanced cases of an unattended death where decomposition has taken place. There is a reason a decomposed body produces such foul odor: fluids and gases have escaped the body, and insect activity and airborne bacteria further cross-contaminate a room or building. It is essential that trauma scene cleaners undergo training on how to safely deal with harmful pathogens and human biohazards at the crime scene.
Blood borne pathogens are always very active after the death of an individual. They do not always die when a person does. For instance, HIV and Hepatitis B viruses can survive in a lifeless body for up to 15 days. HIV has been discovered in biological materials up to six days postmortem. Clostridium difficule (C. diff) spores can colonize outside the body and are not affected by alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Getting exposed to the risk at a crime scene comes in many different ways. These including blood splash on the nose, mouth or eyes, having direct skin contact with
contaminated surfaces or non-intact body parts, and having biological fragments puncture the skin. Even if you don’t get sick, you put other people at risk of contamination. Touching an affected surface without proper cleaning and then passing it to others via equipment, vehicles and other items.
Trauma scene cleaners while working are faced with a lot of health risks. As bacteria become increasingly immune to antibiotics, more dangerous superbugs are developing. To prevent such risk, it is important that you gear up and protect yourself with the right OSHA standard PPEs. More importantly, understand the blood borne pathogens you are dealing with.