This is technical forensic work at the full performance level processing and dissecting bodies and participating in post mortem examinations under the expertise of a pathologist.  Employees in this class retrieve, transport, store and release bodies as part of the processing of cadavers and perform a variety of custodial tasks to ensure the cleanliness of the work area and care of equipment.  Employees work on assigned shifts.

            Work requires moderate physical effort and involves conditions which can only be partially controlled in that employees are exposed to contaminated and decomposed cadavers.  Work is performed under the supervision of a pathologist or technical superior.


ALLOCATING FACTORS:   (The following conditions must be met for a position to be allocated to this class.)


•           The work must be performed in the City's Medical Examiner's Office.

•           The position must be responsible for the pick-up, receipt and dissection of bodies.




            Picks up all decomposed or badly mangled bodies; retrieves cadavers from local hospitals, crime scenes, funeral homes or nursing homes; receives bodies when brought into the Medical Examiner's Office; conducts searches for body parts in cases where bodies have been so badly mangled that parts have been severed; conducts searches at scenes when picking up bodies in order to locate information for the identification of the decedent and next of kin.

            Weighs and measures bodies upon receipt; undresses, lifts and moves bodies for post mortem examination by the pathologist; fingerprints bodies for purposes of identification; takes identification pictures of bodies, organs and trace evidence.

            Positions body on autopsy table; assembles dissecting board and surgical instrumenta­tions; makes incision in torso; cuts away rib cage with a saw; observes body for any abnormalities which includes adhesions, tumors, or missing organs reporting such to pathologists; removes organs from the body which includes the lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys, among others; weighs all such organs and records weight on autopsy worksheet for review by the pathologist; places organs in a tray for examination by a pathologist.

            Removes and opens intestines; removes and measures fluid from body cavities; obtains fluid or tissue samples for studies performed by a laboratory.

            Makes incision in scalp; opens the cranium using a saw; removes and weighs the brain and brain stem; observes brain for excess bleeding, discoloration or surgical sutures; removes spinal cord and exposes middle ear at the request of the pathologist.

            Puts organs in a plastic bag with formaldehyde after review by pathologist; places bag in chest cavity; replaces rib cage; sews up torso; inserts packing in brain cavity; restores top of skull; sews up scalp incision; restores defects of the body; takes x-rays and fluoroscope images of cadavers; assists with skeletonization of bones through procedures such as the removal of tissue and maceration by boiling.

            Releases bodies to undertakers, assists undertakers in moving bodies; places bodies in wooden boxes and transports them to burial site; places bodies in prepared ground.

            Prepares receipt and delivery of cadaver reports; prepares personal effects reports and other related records; cleans and sterilizes instruments and equipment; cleans autopsy room, refrigerators and motor vehicles; drives van to transport bodies to the Medical Examiner's Office; performs routine preventive maintenance on van; operates washer and dryer for cleaning of clothing, sheets and other material used in the autopsy area; disposes of infectious waste in accord with proper procedures.

            Utilizes computer applications to enter and verify data and prepare reports.

            Testifies in court.

            Performs related work as required.






•           gross human anatomy and of the characteristic appearance of normal and abnormal human organs

•           the autopsy procedures involved in making incisions and cranial openings and in removing organs from cadavers

•           the clerical and related procedures involved in receiving and releasing bodies




•           the use and care of surgical instruments and saws used in dissecting cadavers and removing organs




•           work with decomposed and contaminated bodies

•           prepare and maintain records and reports

•           understand and follow oral and written instructions

•           establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates

•           lift and move bodies


MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE (The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests.  Applications submitted by candidates for this class will be reviewed based on training and experience requirements as approved on 3/18.)


Option 1:




            Equivalent to completion of the twelfth school grade.





            One year of experience dissecting human bodies, under professional supervision in a morgue or forensic pathology laboratory.




Option 2:




            Completion of thirty (30) credits which has included coursework in anatomy, biology, forensic science, mortuary science, or pathology.




            Any equivalent combination of education and experience determined to be acceptable by the Office of Human Resources.




            Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.




            Possession of a valid proper class motor vehicle operator's license as issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within six months of appointment and during tenure of employment as a Forensic Technician 1.


Class Established:

CSC - 10/63; Ad. Board - 11/63

Spec. Revision:

CSC - 3/94; Ad. Board - 4/94

Spec. Revision:

CSC - 2/13

Ad. Board - 3/13

Latest Spec. Revision:

CSC - 2/18

Ad. Board - 3/18