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Posted on Oct 28, 2013, By Don M. McNulty

Not long ago I was asked the above-stated question. I would like to share my answer with you. In most states in the U.S. just about anyone can get into bio cleaning or crime scene clean up with little or no training should they want to. But, before your Joe Carpet Cleaner gets into this service he needs to consider a few things first. He needs to know that the federal government through OSHA regulates the bio cleaning industry by means of the Bloodborne Pathogen Rule 1910.1030. This regulation states that each company engaging in such a service as to where the employees have a “reasonable anticipation” of coming into contact with blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM), they must have a written “exposure control plan”, that plan will set the perimeters of conduct through certain engineering controls, and training in every aspect with a thorough understanding of this plan needs to be accomplished and documented before the technician goes into the field.

Since there are things lurking in blood that can literally kill him, or his employees, and with a slow death, he and/or his employees need to receive a Hepatitis B vaccine at company expense. This vaccine is a series of three shots and each individual needs to have the first shot at least 10 days before entering a scene. If the employee refuses to have this vaccine, that employee needs to sign a declination form and have it further explained, through this form, that the offer for a vaccination is open to him at any time in the future, should he change his mind. He really should have training in a certain amount of epidemiology, specifically disease transference. He needs to know the different kinds of pathogens and bacteria that can be lying in wait for the right opportunity to set up shop in a host, namely Joe or his employee. By the way, Joe shouldn’t be trying to suck up this blood into his truck mount. Every state does have regulations as to how medical waste needs to be disposed of, and everyone should be familiar with and follow such state regulations. Also, he would contaminate his carpet cleaning equipment and the next customer wouldn’t appreciate cross contamination into their space.

Liabilities loom great in the bio cleaning business, mainly because you’re ultimately dealing in someone’s health. At least Joe Carpet Cleaner has knowledge about cleaning processes. However, you’d be surprised how many people within the medical field or first responders (police, fireman, etc.) wanting to get into the bio cleaning industry and don’t have a clue as to basic cleaning techniques, which is essential. But, then again, Joe also needs to acquire basic knowledge of construction. He needs to know that if a portion of a wall or ceiling needs to be removed, what may be on the interior of that wall, or what could be above that ceiling. Cutting into a live electrical wire or cutting into a water pipe can have disastrous results. Deodorization techniques should be in his knowledge base, knowing how to deodorize from decomp is paramount.

There are other regulations our would-be carpet cleaner will have to know. Such as the Hazard Communications Standard 1910.1200, and certainly the Respiratory Protection Standard 1910.134, and still others like the Confined Space, and Fall Protection Standards. Joe shouldn’t be the type of person that says to himself, “I can see that stuff and never get sick.” Joe is only thinking about the visual. However, he needs to know that he’s going to feel it, (it feels slick and fatty), he’s going to smell it, (has a strong menstruation blood odor), and it won’t be some animal he’s killed while hunting, it’s human. Every tech I’ve had including myself has suffered from “stress dreams”. These dreams have weird storylines and usually deal with blood and gore. This comes from “Critical Incident Stress Syndrome,” (CISS), or what some call “Secondary Post Traumatic Syndrome.” These dreams and the stress that comes from doing this work can lead to grave psychological disorders for people who can’t handle them these stresses. Joe will have to learn how to defuse or debrief this stress in him and in his employees. This stress doesn’t just come from seeing and handling the physical, it comes while dealing with grief-stricken individuals. Joe should develop the coping, emotional, and social skills necessary to help these individuals in dealing with his work while not allowing himself to be caught up in the fray. He’ll need to learn when just to listen while various stories are recounted, and what to say and not say in response. He’ll need to be able to explain his work order and obtain the proper signatures while people are struggling with grief, and disbelief often times bursting into tears when they feel overwhelmed. “Compassion” is the watchword.

There is other work within the bio cleaning field Joe may have to respond to. One would be “unsanitary dwellings.” This is what some people call “pack rats”. The dwelling gets so stuffed with garbage and trash you usually have to walk through the house or apartment through paths. Many times buckets and jars of human waste accumulate, sometimes drug paraphernalia, and if they die in this mess, well it can lead to quite the job. Bio cleaning is more than death and trauma. I’m sure Joe would enjoy the revenue from bio cleaning. Most bio cleans bring in an 85% gross profit margin, and it is possible to earn up to $200 per man hour when you get the work.

After all, this, to really answer your question, I don’t believe bio cleaning is the type of business Joe can just walk into and start one day. Like any other business, it takes planning, and as you can see it will take a certain amount of training. There’s no law preventing Joe from doing this work or taking the risk involved, but as you can see that’s not the only consideration.

Offering Blood & Crime Scene Cleanup Services Since 1988 in Central Florida