Financing Available Here
What is the ANSI/IICRC S540 Standard?
For those of you who think all you need to be a crime scene cleaner is training in the S540 Standard I am sorry to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. It is stated in the S540 Standard itself that, “The S540 is not a substitute for remediation training and certification programs that are necessary to obtain competence in the field.” The proper use of the S540 is for it to be an add-on to a real training and certification course.
Will the S540 Standard teach you how to be a crime scene cleaner or own your own crime scene biorecovery cleaning company? Absolutely not.
Is the S540 Standard a good thing to implement once you have in-depth crime scene cleanup biorecovery training? Yes.
Is the S540 a good step in the right direction for our industry? Yes.
Many people do not have a clear understanding of what an ANSI Standard is. This page will attempt to explain it in easy to understand layman’s terms.
Here is how Wikipedia explains what ANSI is, “The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States.The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide.
ANSI accredits standards that are developed by representatives of other standards organizations, government agencies, consumer groups, companies, and others.”
So, in simple terms the S540 is a voluntary standard created by a committee of people who have been involved in the crime and trauma scene bio-recovery industry, and the fire/water restoration industry for varying degrees of time. Everyone put their minds together and attempted to create a standard set of guidelines, procedures, and suggestions to provide a uniform document that all those who deal with crime and trauma scene work could refer to for guidance.
Should you follow and attempt to comply with the S540 Standard when possible? Sure.
For those of you who are not familiar with standards the first thing you need to understand is that the S540 Standard is not a regulation; it is a standard.
A standard is not a regulation.
On their own website the IICRC states “The use of an American National Standard (ANS) is completely voluntary.”
On the other hand, OSHA regulations are federal law and you must comply with them. There is, however, no enforcement of the S540 Standard as it is a voluntary consensus standard. This means that the S540 was created by a group of individuals who agreed on some common elements that they thought would be a good thing to follow when performing crime scene cleaning services. It is not a regulation, you do not have to follow it, and no agency enforces it.
With that being said, the intent of the S540 is a good thing and there is no harm in voluntarily attempting to follow it. There are however situations when the urgency of the job and the circumstances of the job will not allow you to follow the S540.
The S540 was also written to be a global product. What I mean by that is that it was written so that anyone in any country could refer to it for guidance. Unfortunately that means that for instance, it is severely lacking in guidance for complying with US regulatory compliance. In trying to be everything for everyone it had to be compromised.
A simple way to look at the S540 is this: Follow it if and when you can, but you are not required to.
Is the S540 a good thing? Yes.
Is the S540 a good starting point for the industry? Yes.
Will the S540 teach you how to operate a crime scene clean up business? No.
Will the S540 teach you how to remediate a crime scene? No.
Will the S540 teach how to make money in the business? No.
Will the S540 teach you the things you need to know to get into the industry, market, price, obtain equipment and supplies, estimate jobs, deal with the grieving family members, etc? No.
At this point some of you might say, “Well if the S540 is not going to teach me what I need to actually do the work and run the business what good is it?”
The answer to that is simple. Any S540 training is something you take after or in conjunction with a full in-depth crime scene cleanup course. Look at the S540 as a supplement to a course you’ve already completed or will be completing first.
Just like many of you know that a 40-hour HAZWOPER course is a good credential to have but it is in addition to a full in-depth crime scene cleanup course. You won’t have a clue what to do if all you have is a 40-Hour HAZWOPER certification in regards to being a crime scene cleaner.
You can purchase the S540 and study it until you know it backwards and forward, but you won’t know how to be a crime scene cleaner and what to do on the scene without other training first.
Please note that on page 5 of the standard, which is the Forward, the IICRC states this:
“This voluntary consensus standard is written for…”
“The S540 does not intend to attempt to teach remediation procedures, but rather provides the principles and foundation for understanding proper remediation practices. The S540 is not a substitute for remediation training and certification programs that are necessary to obtain competence in the field.”
So to sum up those two statements:
1) The S540 is a “voluntary standard” which means you are not required to comply with it.
2) You will not learn what to do and how to do it when it come to performing actual crime scene cleanup at the scene.
Also, in Section 1. Item 3, on page 13 the IICRC states, “This document is written for use by those involved in the trauma and crime scene cleanup industry, primarily for restoration companies, their employees, technicians, and other workers, and secondarily for other materially interested parties as described in this document.
This means the standard was primarily written to benefit restoration companies and their employees, not stand-alone crime scene cleanup biorecovery companies. This is why it does not teach you enough to own or start your own crime scene cleaning company. It is in essence, only for employees who work for restoration companies. Why is that? Because the IICRC caters to restoration companies.
Again, it is supplemental to an in-depth full crime scene clean up biorecovery course. It is something you follow and implement (if you wish, since it is voluntary) after you know what you are doing in the crime scene cleanup business.
More to come soon…