Online Program

Surgical Smoke and Healthcare Worker Health and Safety

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 5:18 p.m. - 5:34 p.m.

Andrea L. Steege, PhD, MPH, Surveillance Branch, DSHEFS, CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
Jim Boiano, MS, CIH, DSHEFS/SB, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
background: Use of lasers and electrosurgical devices during surgical procedures can generate a smoke plume from thermal destruction of tissue. The smoke plume has been shown to contain polyaromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, cellular material, viruses and bacteria. Surgical smoke has been shown to be mutagenic, cytotoxic and genotoxic. Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) is recommended by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z136.1-2007, Safe Use of Lasers, (2007) and Z136.3-2005, Safe Use of Lasers in Health Care Facilities, (2005). NIOSH recommends a combination of general room ventilation and LEV.

methods: The NIOSH Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers (HSPSHW)—an anonymous, multi-module, web-based survey—was conducted in early 2011. Practices related to control of surgical smoke were asked in a hazard module which was targeted to members of organizations representing anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, operating room nurses, and surgical technologists.

results: 4,750 respondents were eligible (worked within 5 feet of surgical smoke in the past 7 days) and completed the surgical smoke module. Only half (47%) reported that LEV was always used when smoke was generated during laser surgery; 15% reported it was always used during electrosurgery. Almost 1/3 reported that LEV use was “not part of our protocol.” Frequency and duration of exposure to surgical smoke, and barriers to using LEV will also be discussed.

conclusion(s): Despite NIOSH/ANSI recommendations, healthcare workers continue to be exposed to surgical smoke. Both employers and healthcare workers share responsibility for ensuring that adequate controls are used.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate use of primary prevention practices such as engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE), and barriers to local exhaust ventilation (LEV) use by healthcare personnel exposed to surgical smoke.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as an Epidemiologist for the CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for the past 16 years and have MPH and PhD degrees in Public Health and Epidemiology, respectively.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.