Tech at a company was handling a “bad” hdd by the PCB - says it’s ok ...

feck1 used Ask the Experts™
Is it OK ?

At the least I would have thought the PCB was to be avoided

The drive needs to be data recovered before it was handled but it struck me as careless handling .....
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IT/EE Solution Guide
Any PCB should be held from the sides, avoiding touching the components, preferably using anti static bands.

Hold a hard drive by the sides, taking care not to touch the PCB connectors or Printed Circuit Board assembly

How to properly handle Western Digital internal hard drives

Do not touch any part of the PCB except the edges.
 Do not touch the electrical conductors, the connectors, or the
components with conductive devices or with your hands.

While it's better to handle as described above, if he wasn't statically charged heavily or had extremely dirty hands, there's no immediate reason that it would adversely affect the data recovery.
Probably after some diagnosis, he would've passed on the drive to a higher lab tech anyway (clean room, gloves, negative air pressure, suit etc). Data recovery also depends on the company having the correct PCB in stock, even if he "destroyed" the PCB during his touching moments, in the lab environment, the PCB would have been temporarily replaced anyway (since the working PCB belongs to the company and it needs to stay there for other recovery jobs).
The PCB’s of Modern disks have a unique to the disk info stored on the board. This info relates to the way the data is stored on the disk and without it retrieving the data reliably is suspect.
Look up PRML (Partial Response Most Likelyhood) and you will find the disk electronics are guessing they have retrieved the correct data!

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