Laboratory Safety and Health for Preventing Drug Exposure


11:00 AM Mountain Time / 1:00 PM Eastern Time


Speaker

Jennie Cox, PhD

Certified Industrial Hygienist (she/her/hers)
Research Industrial Hygienist
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | CDC
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Webinar Description

Forensic scientists serve an integral role in law enforcement organizations throughout the country. Working in a laboratory poses both well-characterized and novel risks to the health of forensic scientists, including those associated with seized drugs. This webinar will discuss how to recognize forensic laboratory hazards and how to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

Three (3) Detailed Learning Objectives:

After having attended this presentation, one will:

  1. Recognize the hazards posed by working in a laboratory and handling suspected illicit drugs
  2. Identify the components of a laboratory health and safety program and chemical hygiene plan
  3. Understand how to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through engaged and responsive implementation of a laboratory health and safety plan

Abstract

As the opioid epidemic continues to worsen, the burden on law enforcement to process these illicit drugs increases. Forensic scientists serve an integral role in law enforcement organizations throughout the country. A large subset of forensic scientists works in laboratories analyzing evidence of all sorts, including suspected drugs. Working in a laboratory poses both well-characterized and novel risks to the health of forensic scientists. Laboratory forensic scientists can be exposed to chemical, biological, physical, and safety hazards. Evidence-processing activities could aerosolize powders, potentially leading to inhalation or mucus membrane exposure, as well as other activities that have the potential for dermal exposure, ingestion, or percutaneous exposure (e.g., needlestick).

Past research has demonstrated that some forensic chemists have exposures to illicit drugs at work. NIOSH has completed several Health Hazard Evaluations at the request of public safety employers and workers concerned about occupational exposures to opioids and illicit drugs. In forensic drug laboratories, detectable levels of cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine were found in employee personal air samples, handwipes collected at the end of shift, and on surfaces in the laboratory. Additionally, cocaine, fentanyl, and/or methamphetamine (or one of their metabolites) was found in very low levels in employee urine. Several employees who had handwipes with reportable levels had not worked with evidence containing those drugs on the day of handwipe sampling. Accidental exposure incidences were occasionally not reported. Additionally, employees who had no known exposure incidences reported symptoms including bitter taste in the mouth when handling some opioid cases, upper respiratory symptoms such as sinus congestion and headaches, skin rash, and tingling and numbness of the lips and/or mouth. Workers are potentially unaware of laboratory contamination through routine sample processing and that consistently reporting accidental exposures and symptoms will help reduce their overall exposures and help manage their risks.

Anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of occupational hazards is key to protecting the health of forensic scientists. The development and implementation of a Laboratory Health and Safety Plan is essential in this endeavor.

We will discuss: (1) the hazards of working in a laboratory, (2) the components and implementation of an effective Laboratory Health and Safety Plan including a Chemical Hygiene Plan, and (3) the hierarchy of controls and how to use it in a laboratory setting. We will provide resources to aid in the development of a Laboratory Health and Safety Plan, including those specific to preventing illicit drug exposures, such as the NIOSH Illicit Drug Tool Kit for First Responders.

Relation to Registry Standards

General laboratory safety may include:

SEIZED DRUGS

• ASTM E2548-16 Standard Guide for Sampling Seized Drugs for Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis (added June 1, 2021).

TOXICOLOGY

• ANSI/ASB Standard 017, Standard Practices for Measurement Traceability in Forensic Toxicology, First Edition, 2018 (added June 18, 2019).


Pricing

  • AAFS Members: $25.00 USD
  • Non AAFS Members: $35:00 USD

*This webinar will be offered with General AAFS Continuing Education credit.

Please do not forget to complete checkout process after clicking "REGISTER MYSELF" by clicking "Proceed to Checkout"

For questions, please reach out to [email protected]

When
4/2/2024 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Mountain Daylight Time
Registration is closed.
 

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