In recent years OSHA (Occupational, Safety and Health Administration) has investigated, reported and fined crime labs for workplace safety issues regarding drying closets and drying rooms. Using evidence drying cabinets to dry wet crime evidence offers many advantages and safety features over simply placing the evidence in drying rooms or closets.
When multiple evidence drying cabinets are needed to meet the needs of large crime labs or police departments, it's common for them to be located together in a specific drying room. There are several points to consider when designing these rooms or placing evidence drying cabinets in an existing room.
The following check list will help in your room planning and hopefully eliminate any last minute issues.
Evidence that's wet from body fluids can be a biohazard. In order to protect workers from exposure and eliminate cross contamination between cases, every measure needs to be taken to contain the biohazard in the smallest area possible to ensure exposed areas are properly decontaminated.
The cabinet’s exhaust airflow must be both HEPA and carbon filtered to contain any biohazards or odors that might be present. It is critical to ensure biohazards are not being propelled into the lab air. And airflow coming into the cabinet must also be filtered to help preserve the integrity of the evidence.
It is much easier to decontaminate a cabinet with a stainless steel liner than a large room with porous walls. Considering the value of DNA evidence in the courtroom, being certain beyond a reasonable doubt that evidence has not been contaminated is critical.
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