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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-96-0019-2666, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, Los Angeles, California.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 96-0019-2666, 1997 Dec; :1-25
In response to a request from the office of the Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner (SIC-9221), Los Angeles, California, an evaluation was conducted of a pneumatic reciprocating saw equipped with local exhaust ventilation used for cranial openings during forensic autopsies and examinations. The pneumatic saw was compared to an electrically driven saw. Airborne particulates were collected and spectral measurements of noise were made during six autopsies. Particulate air samples were collected for microscopic analysis for bone and tissue fragments. The use of local exhaust ventilation significantly reduced the aerosols produced by the reciprocating saws. No short term, high concentrations of particulates were noted during autopsies utilizing the local exhaust ventilation system. The noise measurements indicated that they did not exceed noise occupational exposure limits. While levels approached 95 decibels during a 15 second period, the short amount of time which the physician or technician were subjected to the noise lowered the time weighted average exposure below all evaluation criteria. The authors recommend that the vacuum recovery system should be mechanically integrated with the activation of the reciprocating saw, eliminating the possibility of operator error.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-96-0019-2666; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Region-9; Medical-personnel; Physicians; Aerosol-particles; Ventilation-systems; Infection-control; Air-quality-monitoring; Noise-exposure; Postmortem-examination; Author Keywords: Police Protection; tuberculosis; HIV; coroner; bloodborne pathogen; noise; cranial saws
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division