Blood testing lab in Colorado found to have many problems with training of staff.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) requested a workplace investigation that resulting a report that could be considered mitigating evidence in criminal trials where the CDPHE was involved. This report issued on March 18, 2013 was not released to the Criminal Defense Bar in Colorado by the Colorado Attorney General until June 7, 2013, almost three months after it was issued. The full report can be found here.

The report was initiated after an employee quit and contacted the Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs making several allegations with regard to training, security of samples and unprofessionalism. Additional issues were discovered during the course of the investigation.

The investigator found that the blood alcohol training protocols for toxicology lab analysts were inadequate. This was due to a non-standardized system of training, lack of follow up and not training employees on how to train their peers. The investigator also indicated that the training was inadequate to prepare the lab technicians to testify in court regarding their findings.

There were also findings that the samples were not kept in a secure location. The untested blood and urine samples were kept in an unlocked refrigerator that could be accessed by various people and thus subject to tampering.

The investigation also showed that the supervisor took employees away from their job duties in order to assist her (note: gender is not disclosed in the report) with drafting her Master’s Thesis. The supervisor’s statements did not correspond with the statements of other employees thereby adversely affecting her credibility. The supervisor was also found to have a bias towards the prosecution.

CDPHE was also found to be understaffed for the workload. The lab technicians were also found to be burdened by accommodations made to law enforcement and the District Attorney.




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