Make the effort to be extra safe. Require your crisis cleanup workers to attend cleaning certification courses.

Crisis cleanup is very different from other cleaning jobs. Whether you’re cleaning up after a disaster or after a loss of life, the job is sure to be a messy one. You can expect to encounter biohazards like chemicals or bodily fluids, which can also add a layer of risk to crisis cleanup. That’s why it’s a good idea to require your team to take cleaning certification courses.

Certification helps keep your cleaning team safe, and it also boosts a client’s trust in your ability to do the job. Especially when dealing with crisis cleanup, clients like to have that extra reassurance that the job site will be fully taken care of, eliminating the risk of harm to anyone who later enters the area.

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Cleaning Certification Courses

What cleaning certification courses does your team need?

The bloodborne pathogen standard

While they don’t offer cleaning certification courses, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does require that anyone who may come into contact with bodily fluids is trained on the administration’s bloodborne pathogen standard. The training may be done in person or online and is critical to the safety of those handling biohazards like blood or saliva. This standard goes into great detail about how to handle bodily fluids to minimize the risk of infection.

ISSA training standard

The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) offers several cleaning certification courses useful for crisis cleanup, as well. Their primary course is called the Cleaning Management Institute (CMI), which trains employees on basic cleaning standards for different kinds of job sites.

Their education arm is the Cleaning Management Institute (CMI), through which they offer numerous certifications. To take part in the training, you need to be a member of ISSA, which is an investment in your business anyway since it makes you look more professional to customers.

Additionally, there’s the CIMS Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification, which focuses on sustainable and environmentally-friendly cleaning operations. Though this isn’t specific to crisis cleanup, several components of the certification can work within the framework of that work.


The International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association (IJCSA) also offers cleaning certification courses, though they may not be as well-known as the courses from ISSA. One course they do offer, though, is for bloodborne pathogen certification, which is based on the OSHA standard. OSHA fines can be thousands of dollars if you’re not compliant, so this certification course is a good idea to cover yourself and your employees. (And it only takes an hour!)


The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification offers, among others, a trauma and crime scene technician certification that includes requirements for cleaning and disposal or demolition of structures, contents, vehicles, and industrial machinery.

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Different states, different requirements

Right now, only California and Florida require companies to complete cleaning certification courses and obtain a permit to perform crisis cleanup. However, many states do have rules and regulations about the transportation of biohazardous materials. So before you invest in any particular courses, start with the ones required by your state and make sure that you’re properly disposing of and transporting bodily fluids and other infectious materials.

While you may hire thorough and competent employees, there’s really no way to know exactly what they’ve learned over the years without certifications. The danger of having uncertified workers is that they may not follow safe and healthy protocols when handling disaster or crime scenes. Such job sites are so delicate and potentially dangerous that it behooves you to make sure your staff knows all of the safest procedures.

Crisis cleanup isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of work from your cleaning crews and can be both physically and emotionally taxing. If you’re thinking about offering this service, carefully consider the cost and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself and your staff. While crisis cleanup is typically a specialized service, you may be able to add it to your list of services with the appropriate cleaning certification courses. Doing so can be very profitable and also very satisfying, as the cleaning you do on crisis scenes allows the people affected by the tragedy to start to move on with their lives. Yes, it can be a stressful job and it requires the most professional cleaners you can find, but in the end, knowing that you’re doing good for someone reminds you why you entered the cleaning business in the first place.

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