Suicide Cleanup Work Requires Professional Biohazard Removal Training

A recent ruling by the Washington Court of Appeals has thrown a spotlight on the importance of proper training when performing biohazard removal work such as suicide scene cleanup.  Debbie Rothwell, a custodian for the Nine Mile Falls School District in Washington state, was instructed by the school district superintendent to cleanup a suicide scene after one of the students shot himself in the head in a classroom. The suicide scene cleanup required the removal of “brain matter, pieces of bone, and blood” without the supplies and equipment necessary for bio-hazard cleanup and removal. Additionally, cleanup of a suicide scene, especially one in which biohazards are visibly present, placed her at risk of contracting life threatening and potentially fatal disease. According to court records, Ms. Rothwell realized that she recognized the victim and was “very distraught” about the situation. She also claimed in court filings that she was traumatized cleaning…