Smoke gets in your eyes, and other places during surgery

By: March 24th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

With the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) introducing Plume Scavenging (CSA Z305.13) to help eliminate toxic airborne contaminants, such as smoke, from operating rooms and other settings on March 18, it good to remember that while OSHA does not have a specific standard on similar hazards, there is advice for for U.S. healthcare facilities.

OSHA recommends on the Hospital eTool section on its Web site that healthcare facilities use smoke evacuation gear to control surgical smoke, in conjunction with the following practices:

  • Keep the smoke evacuator or room suction hose nozzle inlet within 2 inches of the surgical site to effectively capture airborne contaminants
  • Keep the smoke evacuator on at all times when airborne particles are produced during all surgical procedures
  • Consider all tubing, filters, and absorbers as infectious waste and dispose of them appropriately
  • Install new filters and tubing before each procedure
  • Inspect smoke evacuator systems regularly to prevent possible leaks
  • Use universal precautions as required by the bloodborne pathogens standard (1910.1030)

OSHA also has a safety page  laser laser and electrosurgery plume hazards.

Last year the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) ratified its “Statement on Surgical Smoke and Bio-Aerosols” in which it recognized that exposure to surgical smoke and bioaerosols poses a hazard to patients and perioperative professionals in healthcare settings. These settings include operating rooms (OR), obstetrical surgical services, cardiac cath labs, emergency rooms, interventional radiology, endoscopy suites, clinics, and physician offices.

Finally Nurses Advocating Smoke-free Theatres Immediately provides helpful advice on the subject.

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