Mortuary

header-Mortuary

Biological Agents

Risk of:

  • Infection.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to infected blood, body fluids or tissues via aerosols from bone / band saw and tissue sectioning especially TB infected lungs.
  • Direct skin contact e.g. verminous bodies.
  • Needlestick, bone or sharp medical instrument inoculation / puncture wounds.
  • Direct splashes or spillages of infectious material.
  • Incorrect or careless work technique e.g. failure to adhere to hygiene procedures.
  • Exposure to infected water aerosols due to stagnation of water in water system or failure to store and distribute water at correct temperatures.
  • Use of improper equipment e.g. wooden blocks or rulers, cracked equipment such as porcelain sinks.

Chemical Agents

Risk of:

  • Health effects.
  • Latex allergies.

Possible causes:

  • Lack of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) maintenance and servicing.
  • Chemical incompatibility such as mixing formaldehyde and hypochlorite.

Exposure to:

  • Formaldehyde, disinfectants, fixatives and solvents during the autopsy process or subsequent processing of tissue or cleaning of the environment.
  • Dust when cutting bone.
  • Material ingested by the autopsy case.
  • Latex consumables

Electricity

Risk of:

  • Burns.
  • Electric shock.
  • Death.
  • Fire.

Possible causes:

  • Equipment not suitable for a wet area or environment with potentially flammable vapours.
  • Contact of water with electricity during post mortem and cleaning.
  • Incorrectly or poorly maintained fittings and connections.

 

Equipment

Risk of:

  • Cuts.
  • Infection.
  • Explosion.

Possible causes:

  • Unguarded bandsaw or bone cutting equipment.
  • Equipment that is not easy to disinfect being used e.g. cracked porcelain slabs, wooden head rests or body supports.
  • Poorly maintained autoclave.

 

Ergonomic Hazards

Risk of:

  • Pain in the back, neck or arms.

Possible causes:

  • Poor posture due to inappropriate bench height, poor lighting, insufficient or badly designed work areas.
  • Use of computers.
  • Static, awkward or sustained postures.

Ionising Radiation

Risk of:

  • Adverse health effects - cancer.
  • Genetic defects.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to nuclear powered cardiac pacemakers or radionuclides in the body following their use for diagnosis and / or treatment.
  • Use of X-ray equipment.

 

Manual / Patient Handling

Risk of:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders.

Possible causes:

  • Moving and lifting the deceased or heavy loads.
  • Manoeuvring trolleys.
  • Lack of adjustable equipment or handling aids such as hoists or trolleys.

 

Noise

Risk of:

  • Hearing damage or loss.
  • Physiological effects.
  • Work related stress.
  • Increased risk of accidents.

Possible causes:

  • Prolonged exposure to noisy equipment.

 

Sharps

Risk of:

  • Cuts.
  • Infection.

Possible causes:

  • Accidental cuts with sharp instruments, blades, bone fragments or corners of fittings.

 

Slips, Trips and Falls

Risk of:

  • Minor injuries such as cuts to major injuries such as broken bones, concussion and even death.

Possible causes:

  • Uneven, slippery, obstructed or poorly lit walkways or floors.
  • Trailing cables.
  • Poor housekeeping.
  • Presence of fluids on floor.
  • Poor drainage.

Stress

Risk of:

  • Psychological disorder.
  • Health effects.

Possible causes:

  • Dealing with constant emotionally fraught situations / the bereaved.
  • Unsociable hours.

Workplace Transport

Risk of:

  • Being hit or run over by a vehicle.

Possible causes:

  • Reversing vehicles e.g. hearses, relatives' vehicles.
  • Lack of traffic management.
  • Poor workplace layout.

 

Further Information

For further information on related controls click here.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of hazards and risks.