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March 2021

This Standards Bulletin from the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science provides a monthly update on:

  • Standards moving through the OSAC Registry approval process and legacy process for Registry approval.
  • Standards moving through the development process at standards developing organizations (SDOs).

Bulletin Summary:

  • New standards added to the OSAC Registry: 3 
  • Standards under consideration for the Registry and open for comment: 10
  • SDO documents open for comment: 11
Download PDF (363.72 KB)

OSAC Registry Updates

OSAC Registry Ribbon

The OSAC Registry is a repository of high-quality, technically sound published and proposed standards for forensic science. These written documents define minimum requirements, best practices, standard protocols and other guidance to help ensure that the results of forensic analysis are reliable and reproducible.

Three New Standards Added to the OSAC Registry

Standards Open for Comment

The OSAC legacy process for Registry approval is used to review existing SDO published standards for technical quality and placement on the Registry. Please submit your comments by the deadline on whether the following SDO published standards should be included on the Registry.

Comment deadline March 2, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. ET:

  • ANSI/ASB 038, Standard for Internal Validation of Forensic DNA Analysis Methods, First Edition, 2020. Submit your comments here.
  • ANSI/ASB 077, Standard for the Developmental and Internal Validation of Forensic Serological Methods, First Edition, 2020. Submit your comments here.

Comment deadline April 2, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. ET:

  • ANSI/ASB Standard 031, Standard for Report Writing in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, First Edition 2020. Submit your comments here.
  • ANSI/ASB Standard 049, Best Practice Recommendation for Lifting of Footwear and Tire Impressions, First Edition 2020. Submit your comments here.
  • ASTM E3260-21 Standard Guide for Forensic Examination and Comparison of Pressure Sensitive Tapes. Submit your comments here.

The OSAC Registry approval process is used to review OSAC drafted standards (i.e., OSAC Proposed Standards) for technical quality and placement on the Registry. The following OSAC draft proposed standards are being considered for submission to an SDO. The final draft provided to the SDO will be available on the OSAC Registry as an “OSAC Proposed Standard.” OSAC welcomes comments on whether the current draft is suitable for release to the SDO as well as suggestions for improvements in content and wording. To be considered, comments must be placed in the OSAC Comment Form and sent to comments@nist.gov by the deadline.

Comment deadline March 2, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. ET:

Comment deadline April 2, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. ET:

Visit the Standards Under Consideration webpage to see all of the standards being considered for the Registry and where they are in the approval process. 

Is your organization implementing standards on the OSAC Registry? 
Complete OSAC’s Laboratory Implementation Declaration Form and send it to mark.stolorow@nist.gov to let us know. 
Share your implementation experience and be featured in a future OSAC news post. 

SDO Updates

SDO Published Standards

The following document has recently been published by ASTM and is currently being considered for the Registry: 

  • ASTM E3260-21 Standard Guide for Forensic Examination and Comparison of Pressure Sensitive Tapes. This document, initially drafted by OSAC’s Trace Materials Subcommittee and finalized by ASTM Subcommittee E30.01, is intended to be an introduction to other standard guides for the forensic examination of pressure sensitive adhesive tape. This guide describes the construction and classification of various tapes and the methods to develop discriminatory information using an efficient order of testing.

SDO Documents Open for Comment

Academy Standards Board (ASB):

  • ASB Standard 145, Standard for Consultation during Friction Ridge Examination, First Edition, 2021. This standard sets documentation, quality, and consultant requirements for consultations during friction ridge examinations. This document does not apply to conflict resolutions. Comment deadline March 8, 2021.
  • Recirculation* – ASB Standard 054, Standard for a Quality Control Program in Forensic Toxicology Laboratories, First Edition, 2020. This document establishes minimum requirements for quality control practices in forensic toxicology laboratories. The document explains the importance of a quality control program, how to select and care for materials used to prepare quality control samples, proper preparation and use of calibrator and control samples, and requirements for their use in different types of assays. The document also provides direction for the review and monitoring of quality control data in forensic toxicology laboratories. Comment deadline March 15, 2021. 
  • ASB Standard 152, Standard for Minimum Content Requirements of Forensic Toxicology Procedures, First Edition, 2021. This document provides requirements for the minimum content of technical and analytical procedures in forensic toxicology. This standard applies to laboratories performing forensic toxicological analysis in the following sub-disciplines: postmortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology (e.g., drug-facilitated crimes and driving-under-the-influence of alcohol or drugs), non-regulated employment drug testing, court-ordered toxicology (e.g., probation and parole, drug courts, child services, breath alcohol), and general forensic toxicology (non-lethal poisonings or intoxications). Comment deadline March 15, 2021.
  • Recirculation* – ASB Best Practice Recommendation 008, Mass Fatality Scene Processing: Best Practices for the Medicolegal Authority, First Edition, 2021. This document provides definitions, guidelines, and best practices for the detection, processing and recovery of physical and contextual evidence associated with mass fatality disaster scenes to ensure that evidence is carefully and consistently documented and recovered in situ. This document focuses on terrestrial scenes that do not involve a significant hazardous materials component. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that appropriate strategies are followed for the search and documentation of the scene, and the recovery of human remains, personal effects, and other probative evidence, while maintaining the chain-of-custody of all items and ensuring that all areas associated with the scene are processed in a systematic manner. Comment deadline March 22, 2021.
  • ASB Standard 085, Standard for the Detection Canine Selection, Kenneling, and Healthcare, First Edition, 2021. This standard covers requirements for the selection, kenneling, and health care pertaining to detection canines. It does not include training methodology standards. Comment deadline March 22, 2021.
  • Recirculation* – ASB Standard 133, Standard for Age Estimation in Forensic Anthropology, First Edition, 2021. Age is one of several biological parameters that can be estimated from skeletal material or medical imaging. This standard provides general procedures for the estimation of age from skeletal material or medical imaging. Specific methods and techniques are not included in the standard. Comment deadline March 22, 2021.
  • Recirculation* – ASB Standard 146, Standard for Resolving Commingled Remains in Forensic Anthropology, First Edition, 2021. This document provides laboratory and field procedures and requirements for resolving commingled remains. The techniques presented include size, age, and sex similarities, articulation between skeletal elements, taphonomic similarities, and reconstruction of fragmentary remains. The document also describes the determination of MNI (Minimum Number of Individuals), as well as the LI (Lincoln Index) and MLNI (Most Likely Number of Individuals) based on the number of paired and unpaired bones. Comment deadline March 22, 2021.
  • ASB Standard 150, Standard for Determination of Medicolegal Significance from Skeletal Remains in Forensic Anthropology, First Edition, 2021. This standard sets procedures required for the determination of medicolegal significance from suspected skeletal remains. It addresses methodological, testing, and observational procedures for identifying skeletal remains as either human or nonhuman in origin and sets required procedures to assess the relevancy of human remains to the medicolegal death investigation system. Comment deadline March 22, 2021.
  • Recirculation* – ASB Standard 092, Standard for Training and Certification of Canine Detection of Explosives, First Edition, 2021. This standard provides the training requirements for a canine team (canine handler and canine), and details follow-on assessments for trained canine teams in the field of explosives detection including traditional explosives detection canines (EDC), person screening canines (PSC), and explosives detection canines with person screening capabilities (EDC w/PSC). This standard is intended to be used as the basis for all phases of the training process and includes certification procedures, training and assessments, record keeping, and document management. Comment deadline March 29, 2021.
  • Recirculation* – ASB Best Practice Recommendation 052, Best Practice Recommendation for the Detection and Collection of Footwear and Tire Impression Evidence, First Edition, 2021. This document provides best practice recommendations for personnel responsible for detecting and collecting footwear and tire impressions. These recommendations optimize the detection of impressions. The methods included in this document may not cover all aspects of unusual or uncommon conditions. This document is not intended as a substitute for training in the detecting and/or collection of footwear and tire impression evidence. Completion of a training program and experience in these skills is essential to understanding and applying the recommendations outlined in this document. Comment deadline April 4, 2021.
  • Recirculation* – ASB Standard 137, Standard for Examination and Documentation of Footwear and Tire Impression Evidence, First Edition, 2021. This standard provides the examination process and minimum documentation requirements for relevant observations and conclusions/ interpretations encountered during footwear/tire tread examinations. This document is not all inclusive of the examinations that may be requested or conducted. Comment deadline April 4, 2021.

*Comments on a re-circulation will only be accepted on revised sections of a document, comments made to text not revised from the original comment period will not be accepted.

For the ASB documents listed above, download the comment template and return it to asb@aafs.org by the comment deadline.

Work Proposals for New or Revised Standards

The following documents are being initiated and are expected to result in new or revised standards.

ASB:

  • On February 5, 2021 a Project Initiation Notification System (PINS) was published on page 2 in the ANSI Standards Action. This will begin a 30-day period for public comment on the initiation of ASB’s work on the following documents:

    • BSR/ASB 159, Best Practice Recommendation for Guiding Principles for Scene Investigation. This document describes the minimum guiding principles for scene investigation. These best practices establish a framework for expected behavior and for decision-making. These principles include legal considerations, personnel
      safety, scientific reliability and validity, preserving context, maintaining evidence integrity, transparency, and managing bias.

    • BSR/ASB 160, Best Practice Recommendation for Initial Response at Scenes by Law Enforcement. This best practice recommendation provides guidance for the initial response by law enforcement to scenes. The guidance includes arrival procedure, safety considerations, medical intervention, assessing the scene, scene containment and control, evidence preservation, turning the scene over to investigators, and document actions and observations. It does not include guidance for a complete scene investigation.

For more information or to submit comments, please contact the standards developer directly within 30 days of the publication of this PINS announcement. 

ASB contact: Teresa Ambrosius (tambrosius@aafs.org).
 

Other News

Professional Organization Support for OSAC Registry and Standards Implementation

Four professional forensic science organizations, all represented on the OSAC FSSB, have recently released statements declaring their support for the development and implementation of forensic science standards. 

Read the statements from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), the Association of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers (AFQAM), the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), and National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) on OSAC’s Registry Implementation webpage. 

CSAFE's Spring 2021 Webinar Series

Our colleagues at The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) will be hosting two webinars this spring. These webinars are free and open to the public, and researchers, collaborators and members of the broader forensic science and statistics communities are encouraged to attend. 

  • Handwriting Analysis in CSAFE, March 11, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CST
  • IRT for Forensics: A re-analysis of the FBI “Black Box” Study, April 8, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CST

For more information and to register for any of these webinars, visit https://forensicstats.org/events.

Get Involved with OSAC

OSAC offers a variety of ways for members, affiliates and other experts in the forensic science community to participate in the standards advancement process. Click here to learn how you can help make an impact on the forensic science community through standards.