While processing a crime scene, it is common to use gloves. What gloves are best?
Two main reasons gloves are worn while working at a crime scene are: The first is to protect ourselves from the evidence. The other is to keep the evidence away from us.
Protect yourself from the evidence
We are trying to protect ourselves against biohazardous substances like blood, urine, and semen by using examination glove. OSHA published Title 29, Section 1910.1030 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Bloodborne, on December 6, 1991. Law enforcement, emergency response and forensic lab personnel are all possible occupations that could be exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
The concept of taking universal precautions is fundamental to the bloodborne disease standard. This is the main mechanism for infection control. This principle requires employees to treat any blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious material as if they were infected by bloodborne diseases such as the hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis B (HCV), and human immunodeficiency (HIV). To avoid direct contact with potentially infectious materials, the following precautions should be taken:
- If possible contact with infectious materials occurs, use barrier protection such as disposable gloves, shoe covers, and coveralls. If gloves become brittle or punctured, or if they are unable to protect you from potential infectious materials, change them. Protect your eyes and face with appropriate protection against sprays, splashes and spatters of potentially contagious materials.
- Take off gloves and any other protective gear in a way that does not contaminate unprotected skin.
- After removing gloves and other personal protective gear, wash your hands.
- No matter what personal protection you may have, it is forbidden to eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics in areas where blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials are present.
- When transporting or disposing of contaminated sharps, place them in suitable closable, leakproof, puncture resistant containers. The containers should be labeled with a BIOHAZARD warning sticker
- Avoid handling contaminated needles and other sharps by bending, re-capping, removing, or any other form of manipulation.
- Use a daily prepared solution of household bleach, diluted 1:10 or with 70% isopropyl alcohol, or another appropriate disinfectant after use. For complete disinfection, allow enough time.
We protect the evidence
We use gloves to protect evidence.
Cross contamination can be a problem at crime scene scenes where DNA may be present. Cross contamination is a real problem at crime scenes when evidence may contain DNA. We don’t want our DNA to be placed on any evidence that we collect, and we don’t wish to transfer DNA from one piece of evidence to the next. We need to change our gloves frequently. We should change our gloves after collecting DNA, such as by swabbing a surface. We should change our gloves when collecting DNA-containing evidence.
Many investigators believe they only need one pair of gloves to cover the whole scene. An investigator may be touching many things throughout the course of an investigation. This includes tools, clipboards, notebooks, and pens. Cross contamination is possible if the investigator uses a pen for the property report and evidence tag. The pen that the investigator brought to the scene contained DNA. The transfer of DNA may occur if the investigator uses the pen to collect the evidence and does not change their gloves. Investigators may also rub their hands together and leave their DNA on the glove.
Additionally, if we only wear one pair of gloves during the scene, it is a reminder of the original reason that gloves are worn-to protect us against the evidence. Our pen can become contaminated if we touch anything potentially dangerous, such as bodily fluids. We remove our gloves, pick up the pen, and we become contaminated.
Protect yourself and your evidence by wearing gloves at the crime scene. Also, change gloves before you collect any evidence.
Another thing to remember: make sure your gloves are free of powder. Powder in gloves can stick to DNA and cause problems when it is extracted and analysed. If you are allergic to latex gloves, nitrile gloves may be a better choice.