Blood, Body Fluids And Bone Fragments Present In Suicide, Crime, Death And Trauma Scene Pose Serious Public Health Risks!
Bio-hazardous scenes are not pathogenically safe when released by law enforcement agencies.
Blood and Body Fluids found at crime, suicide, death and trauma scenes carry potentially fatal blood borne pathogens (disease causing microorganisms) which may be contracted by individuals entering a scene.
Bloodborne pathogens include, but are not limited to, AIDS, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). These illnesses, found in the blood and body fluids of infected individuals, may seriously affect quality of life and, in some cases, cause death. Feces found in many death scenes is a carrier of the Hepatitis A virus.
Extreme caution should be taken when approaching any scene where blood or body fluids are thought to be present. Handrails, door knobs, and light switches, as well as, points of entry and flooring should be considered part of the “hot zone” (i.e., areas posing great risk for personal contamination due to the presence of blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious material (OPIM)).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn when entering any scene to safeguard against blood-borne pathogen exposure and subsequent illness.
Entering a scene after it has been released by police, sheriff, or other law enforcement agencies where a suicide, crime, death or trauma has occurred may result in direct contact with blood, body fluids, and medical waste infected with bloodborne pathogens. Significant risk of needle stick is also present in scenes where blood and body fluid is found due to the routine presence of used needles and syringes. Contaminants and bone fragments may be tracked out on the bottom of shoes which can cause further cross contamination, and subsequent risk to family members in private vehicles and homes.
Pets in crime, death, suicide and trauma scenes pose a serious health risk to anyone entering the scene. NEVER handle pets exposed to blood or body fluids. A bite, scratch or puncture from a cat or dog contaminated with infected blood or body fluid may result in contracting a serious, and potentially life-threatening, virus or bacterial infection. Do not enter the scene if a pet is present. Contact an experienced bio-hazard cleaning specialist to assist you.
Methods of Exposure include ingestion, inhalation, absorption, injection, and direct mucous membrane contact. Bloodborne pathogens (viral and bacterial infections) may enter your body and infect you through a variety of means when entering a scene where blood and body fluid is present such as: 1) An accidental injury with a sharp object contaminated with infectious material such as needles, broken glass, wood splinters, or anything that can pierce, cut or puncture your skin; 2) Open cuts, nicks and skin abrasions, even dermatitis and acne, as well as the mucous membranes of your mouth, eyes or nose; 3) Indirect transmission, such as touching a contaminated object or surface and transferring the infectious material to your mouth, eyes, nose or open skin; or 4) by flaking blood blowing into your eyes, nose or mouth.
Disposal of blood soaked items and items with dried, flaking blood should only be handled by professionals who identify and process regulated waste as a routine course of business. Risk of contracting a bloodborne pathogen illness is extremely high when handling regulated waste in a violent crime or long-term death scene. Regulated waste, as defined by OSHA (CFR 1910.1030), may not be placed in dumpsters or trash, and must be packaged, transported and disposed of in accordance with Federal, State and local regulations. Used needles and syringes must be packaged in a sharps container and disposed of by a licensed medical waste carrier.
Cleaning, Sanitizing and Deodorizing of all scenes containing blood and body fluids should be performed by an experienced Crime and Death Scene cleaning company which dispatches Certified Haz-Mat and Bio-Hazard Technicians. Clean-up of crime, suicide and death scenes by professional Bio-hazard Remediation Companies is heavily regulated under OSHA’s Final Rule on Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens (CFR 1910.1030). Utilizing the services of a compliant Crime and Death Scene cleaning company insures that a property is returned to a pathogenically safe and odor free state which poses no further health risk.