When you’re in a stressful situation such as dealing with the aftermath of a suicide or crime and want to get the mess taken care of as quickly as possible, it’s easy to pick the first crime scene cleanup company you find on the internet. If you do that though, you leave yourself open to being taken advantage of, robbed, and open to litigation and financial loss. But are crime scene cleaners licensed?
In a recent news article, a homeowner discovered that one of the crime scene cleaners they’d hired had stolen money from their home. Both reprehensible and inexcusable, a reputable crime scene cleanup company completes a thorough criminal background check and drug test on every single employee to make sure this never happens. However, only by doing your due diligence can you mitigate your risk.
Make sure the company you pick is licensed, bonded, and insured
Whichever company you pick for crime scene cleanup, it is important you make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured. No matter if the situation is suicide, violence, or another such catastrophe, biohazard cleanup carries great risks for both you and the biohazard cleaning technicians. Reputable companies will therefore make sure they are properly licensed, bonded, and insured.
In addition to obtaining a business license which enables the company to do business anywhere in the state, a reputable crime scene cleaning company will also complete all the training required for all needed licenses to transport bio hazardous material and work with specialized cleaning agents. For example, before any technician can do the work of a crime scene cleaner, they must follow OSHA Regulation 29CFR1910.1030. This regulation requires any employee involved in the cleanup of bodily fluids, infectious waste, blood, or other biohazards to:
- Successfully complete training in blood borne pathogens
- Be thoroughly acquainted with the company’s formal written blood borne pathogens plan
- Be equipped with all necessary and required personal protective equipment
- Have at least the first round of the hepatitis vaccine and work for an employer who will provide the full series of vaccines
- Know the proper methods for legally removing, storing, and disposing of biohazardous waste. In Georgia, this requires a permit from the GA EPD.
A company providing these services must be licensed by the Sec. of State of GA as of Jan 1, 2021, and if they are not they cannot legally bill for their services and are subject to a fine of $5k for each instance.
Only by making sure the company you hire has all the required licenses to clean and transport bio-hazardous waste, can you be sure all the employees are well-acquainted on how to properly clean and handle such materials.
Being bonded means that a company has bought a bond from a surety company which will pay out when any damage has been done. Unlike insurance companies that can pay out far more than the money you have put in, a surety bond will only pay out as much as the bond was bought for and then hold the purchasing company responsible for any loss.
The benefit of making sure a company is bonded is that unlike insurance that can take a long time to pay for any loss, you won’t have to wait for payment as a bond pays for damages right away.
All crime scene cleanup companies need to be well-insured before cleaning up any crime scenes. A good insurance policy will not only protect their employees, but also cover any damage to your property and yourself. Even though you may have property, rental, or homeowners insurance, it is still important for the cleanup company to hold their own insurance policy. By going through their insurance for any reimbursement of damages, you won’t have to risk your own policy by making additional claims or have to pay a deductible. In addition, the damage from a claim could exceed your policy limits and you would be held liable for the rest. A responsible crime scene cleanup company will carry their quality insurance.
Do your due diligence
Whichever crime scene cleanup company you choose, make sure they have done their own due diligence in the form of drug testing and background checks for every single employee. Also make sure they carry their own insurance policies, all appropriate licenses, and are bonded. Only by being sure of these things can you mitigate your own risk and be sure the company has your best interest in mind.
Contact Georgia Clean if you have any questions
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 770-766-4562 for immediate assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or by filling out our online contact form. We are fully licensed, bonded, and insured, and are dedicated to providing compassionate and comprehensive crime scene clean-up throughout Georgia. You can find all of our licenses and documents here.