Evaluation of potential occupational exposures to narcotics in a county evidence room
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Evaluation of potential occupational exposures to narcotics in a county evidence room

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    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from the manager of an investigations bureau within a county state's attorney's office who was concerned about potential employee exposures to narcotics in their evidence rooms. During our site visit, we walked through and observed the work environment of the 14th floor evidence room, sub-basement evidence room, and surrounding areas; inspected the ventilation systems; measured temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide; interviewed employees about their work and their health; and discussed housekeeping practices with housekeeping staff and inspected their cleaning equipment. We found that the evidence rooms did not have independent ventilation systems, which meant that air could be recirculated from the evidence rooms into other areas. However, the evidence rooms were under negative air pressure relative to adjacent areas, a preferred design. Local exhaust ventilation was not used when evidence was opened or repackaged. Temperature and relative humidity measurements occasionally exceeded recommended comfort guidelines, but carbon dioxide concentrations were within recommendations. Carbon monoxide concentration were low. Personal protective equipment was available but not required. Employees sometimes wore powder free latex gloves when handling evidence. The symptoms reported by employees were nonspecific and could have workplace or nonworkplace causes. The vacuum used by housekeeping was in a poor state of repair and was not equipped with a high efficiency particulate filter. We recommended that until evidence rooms are under dedicated ventilation systems, the investigations bureau could supplement their ventilation system(s) with benchtop ventilation hood(s) and use them when handling or repackaging evidence. We recommended providing appropriate personal protective equipment to employees who handle evidence and develop guidance for its use. We also recommended replacing latex gloves with powder-free nonlatex gloves, and purchasing a vacuum equipped with a high efficiency particulate air filter specifically for evidence room use." - NIOSHTIC-2 NIOSHTIC no. 20055267 Recommended citation: NIOSH [2019]. Evaluation of potential occupational exposures to narcotics in a county evidence room. By Feldmann KD, Hatcher S. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2018-0150-3340, https://www .cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2018-0150-3340.pdf.
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