Job Specification

Position Title:
Morgue Technologist
Job Code:
16061 - Technologist 1, Medical Lab
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

To provide first level technical and support services to the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) related to autopsy casework and morgue functions. This includes integration of morgue activities with postmortem examinations, morgue organization and management, quality assurance and inventory, fingerprinting deceased individuals, postmortem dental x-rays and biological waste disposition.

Duties / Responsibilities :

1. Receiving evidentiary items and documents from the Provincial Dispatch Unit and other sections, sorting items and preparing items for appropriate facilitation.

2. Organizing and maintaining morgue storage areas, creating and maintaining continuity and storage records for items; organizing and maintaining morgue storage areas (i.e. freezer),; ensuring cleanliness of storage areas.
This includes assisting with body inventory and morgue cooler management to keep the morgue organized. The use of heavy equipment (e.g. forklift) may be required to move bodies.

3. Assists with maintaining the morgue including: regularly monitoring and tracking of supply inventory, ensuring cleanliness of storage areas, taking garbage to designated area for pickup, maintaining laundry supply and send out for cleaning, cleanliness of gurneys and trays.

4. Performing a variety of administrative functions including: recording various items for documentation
(forms/requisitions) and maintaining records concerning post mortem examinations; photocopying and forwarding documentation appropriately.

5. Assists with data collection for the purposes of establishing positive identification. Collecting fingerprints and postmortem dental x-rays from deceased individuals. Coordinating shipment, distribution and chain of custody to experts (e.g., Forensic Odontologist, police services, etc.) province wide to help establish positive identification.

6. Working in conjunction with the Provincial Dispatch Unit, receive bodies/remains to the morgue for storage, post mortem examination and identification by weighing the body/remains and assigning appropriate storage cooler within the morgue. This includes applying identification tags to the decedent and body pouch after confirming identification with the Coroner. Notifying appropriate Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit (PFPU) staff that body/remains have been received.

7. Facilitating, documenting and notifying those necessary of positive identifications. This includes confirming the correct spelling of legal names, dates of birth, dates of death, etc. Updating all laboratory and case information management systems with the confirmed identification and updating all identification tags on the decedent and
body pouch.

8. Advises and releases bodies to individual/agency legally entitled. Ensuring paperwork (e.g., Warrant for Postmortem Examination, Warrant to Bury, etc.) is complete for both incoming and outgoing bodies/remains and contacting Coroners where discrepancies are noted.

9. Packaging of items for shipping to investigating agency or for disposal; maintaining continuity records.

10. Entering data and retrieving data from the information management system (F-Path/PIMS/CIS/QuinC).

11. Handling potentially biohazardous material in accordance with universal precautions.

12. Assisting with postmortem examinations, under the pathologist's direction by: retrieving/returning bodies from the morgue coolers when needed, turning and lifting the body in the autopsy room when needed. Ensuring body bags are clean, biologically safe and correctly labelled for release to external stakeholders (e.g., funeral homes and body transportation companies). Moving bodies to the postmortem examination room in preparing for autopsy and returning decedents to the appropriate morgue coolers following an autopsy. This may include assisting Forensic Imaging Technologists with ensuring decedents are imaged in a timely fashion.

13. Providing assistance with the process related to the receipt, labelling, storage, processing, sorting and disposal of forensic toxicology samples taken from all autopsies warranted by a Coroner throughout Ontario (A blood sample is retained from all medico-legal autopsies ordered by a Coroner in Ontario regardless of whether toxicology testing is required initially).

14. Assists with coordinating storage and disposition of biological (e.g. anatomical stock jars, toxicology samples, etc.) and non-biological (e.g. ligatures, evidentiary items, etc.) samples arising from postmortem examinations conducted at the PFPU, as per legislation. Maintains chain of custody and inventory of samples using laboratory and case information management system.

15. Advises and releases bodies to individuals/agencies legally entitled. Ensuring paperwork (e.g., Warrant for Postmortem Examination, Warrant to Bury, etc.) is complete for both incoming and outgoing bodies/remains and contacting Coroners where discrepancies are noted. Placing personal effects in secure storage after postmortem examinations and correctly documenting their release to funeral homes/body transportation companies.

16. Coordinates and liaises with police agencies throughout Ontario to obtain death/crime scene and autopsy photographs and occurrence reports, uploads images and police reports to F-Path (internal database), matches up photo CDs/DVDs from police to corresponding autopsy files, distributes images to medical staff.

17. Regularly monitoring supply inventory and replenishing supplies relating to the autopsy.

18. Takes direction from technical, scientific and managerial staff with respect to a) maintaining the morgue, b)
preparing samples for storage and disposal and c) autopsy assistance as required.

19. Manager has the right to assign additional duties/responsibilities as required.

Staffing and Licensing :


Knowledge :

1. Knowledge of: statutes, legislation, ministry and program directives, guidelines, policies and procedures with respect to Coroners' death investigation and postmortem examinations (e.g., Coroners Act, Anatomy Act, Trillium Gift of Life Network Act, etc.).

2. Ability to understand medical terminology to liaise with medical professionals and others regarding nature, manner/cause of death and circumstances.

3. Knowledge of laboratory tests, autopsy techniques related to specific tasks (e.g. fingerprinting, dental x-rays) and procedures and principles in order to assist in the completion of forensic autopsies by selecting appropriate autopsy methods and testing procedures..

4. Job requires knowledge of laboratory safety and awareness of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations that apply to the work, and knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace. Job requires knowledge of universal precautions in order to work safely with biohazardous materials by applying known procedures and techniques.

5. Job requires knowledge of the requirements of the justice system related to handling forensic evidence and samples in order to maintain continuity of evidence by adhering to known established procedures and practices for handling samples and testing materials.

6. Procedures for handling bodies/evidence (e.g. continuity of evidence, health and safety, universal precautions)
and ability to assess incoming/outgoing body/remains and determine required action.

7. Job requires knowledge of uploading and cataloguing images.

8. Job requires making recommendations to improve efficiency of workflow.

9. Job requires both working independently and as part of a team. Work is reviewed for progress and results. As required, urgent matters are escalated to management's attention and action. This may involve overnight hours where direct supervision may be minimal.

10. Job requires knowledge regarding how to prepare biological and non-biological items for storage and disposal by consulting procedural manuals, legislation and discussing with technical staff.

11. Job requires knowledge of universal precautions to store and dispose of samples by following prescribed procedures and methods for the safe handling of biohazardous and chemical materials. Including the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, gown and protective eyewear.

12. Job requires knowledge of laboratory and case information management systems, computer operating systems and programs (e.g. Windows, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Access, SQL, Adobe, etc.).

Skills :

1. Job requires the physical ability and knowledge of how to move, lift and turn human bodies (remains) and/or portions of bodies including visceral organs for pathological examination.
2. Job requires reasoning skills to determine approach to handling case materials and determine appropriate storage and disposal methods for items by consulting procedural manual.
3. Job requires the ability to label and document forensic evidence and specimens with a high degree of accuracy and consistency in order to provide undisputable continuity of evidence.
4. Job requires oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills to work effectively with staff members and stakeholders.
5. Job requires organizational skills to determine work priorities among conflicting demands and attention to details when maintaining chain of custody and managing various items.
6. Job requires reasoning skills to ensure confidentiality and accuracy of highly sensitive materials related to death investigation.
7. Job requires sound reasoning and judgement skills to identify priorities and incidents requiring the manager, Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist, especially when supporting death investigations.
8. Job requires reasoning skills to determine when to re-order supplies and disposable equipment for the unit by regularly checking inventory.
9. Job requires written communication skills to maintain accurate documentation of autopsy related information and retention of specimens/exhibits.
10. Job requires oral communication skills to communicate with associates (e.g. medical, legal, and policing professionals) regarding postmortem and/or test results.
11. Job requires problem solving skills to identify and follow up on issues/delays in maintaining morgue services
(e.g. supply inventory, laundry supplies and waste management).
12. Job requires frequent exposure to, handling of, and contact with bodies/remains that may be contaminated, decomposed, mutilated, and/or arthropod infested. May involve frequent exposure to unpleasant materials, odours, and content. May involve exposure to potentially infectious viruses, bacterial and infectious diseases.
13. Job requires the ability to work 24-hours a day, 7 days a week including weekends and statutory holidays.

Freedom of Action :

Working within standard practices, using procedural manuals and other resources such as directives and
reference materials to ensure quality control is maintained. Job requires working in accordance with legislation (e. g., Coroners Act, Anatomy Act, Trillium Gift of Life Network Act, etc.).
Inappropriate actions/behaviors/comments and/or unsafe practices are reported to the Manager, Provincial Dispatch. All other duties performed are continually monitored for accuracy and consistency by the Manager and/or Deputy Chief Forensic Pathologists. Unusual situations would be referred to the Manager, Provincial Disptach.

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