Operating Room safety basically involves safeguarding the well-being of both patients and health care professionals while in the Operating Room (OR). There’re quite a number of health hazards in the OR that need to be addressed to ensure the safety of both patients and Health care providers. This is very essential especially in trying to avoid costly litigation procedures. Well, to elaborately design safety measures in the OR, you need to identify first the possible health hazards.
Health Hazards Inside The Operating Room (OR)
The following are some of the health hazards that may compromise with Operating Room safety:
- Slip, Trip Or Fall Hazards: Sometimes, the floor of an operating room can be too slippery hence highly vulnerable to slips or falls. These may cause injuries.
- Exposure To Health Risk Gases: Inhalation of anesthetic gases may pose several health risks such as tiredness, mental retardation as well as loss of reflex actions.
- Exposure To Laser Radiations: Exposure to laser radiations may cause diseases like cancer which is a health hazard.
- Electrical Shock Risks: Faulty electrical appliances may cause electrical shocks hence hampering Operating Room safety.
- Fire Hazards: If not contained, a fire outbreak can be a greater health hazard. It can actually result to injuries such as burns.
- Exposure To Dangerous Chemical Cleaning Agents: Most cleaning agents are hazardous especially before use.
- Contact With Particulate Releases: Some processes in the OR, such as using laser, create particulates into the air. Some of them may have spores of fungus which may pose greater health risks.
- Body Fluid Exposures Especially From Sharp Objects: Research has shown that almost 50% of all sharp object injuries arise during or after use, for example when: inserting a peripheral Intravenous line, collecting and sampling blood, cutting tissue using either the Iris scissors or scalpel, moving back the needle from a patient or when disposing waste.
- Knocking Heads On Operating Room Lights: OR lights may cause head injuries if not well adjusted after an operation.
Safety Measures To Curb Health Hazards
To guarantee Operating Room safety to patients and health care providers, appropriate measures need to be taken to avert any health care hazards. The following measures can be undertaken to reduce these health hazards:
- Dispose sharp objects like Iris scissors immediately after use into the nearest sharps container.
- Use personal protective Equipment (PPE) when performing all surgical operations such as gloves, head masks, goggles among others.
- Always take great care and precaution when emptying gas canisters or cylinders.
- When operating in a laser room, always make sure that the room has been medically tested.
- Regularly check endotracheal tubes and other connections to prevent aesthetic gas leaks. This measure will help promote Operating Room safety especially for physicians.
- Make sure the scrubber is fully loaded to sustain an operation.
- Strictly follow prescribed instructions from the manufacturer on how to prepare and use cleaning detergents.
- Wear shoes which are resistant to slip to reduce the risk of slipping or tripping on the floor.
- Always put on eye-laser protective devices when working in ORs with laser radiations.
- Appropriately adjust OR lights after use to avoid head injuries.
- Make sure all medical electrical equipments in the OR are in good working condition before starting an operation.
- Never use any equipment without the ground plug.
- All staff should be properly trained on fire management procedures such as use of fire extinguishers.
- All the medical team should be aware of the location of the fire alarm systems.
If the above measures are properly taken and implemented, Operating Room safety might be guaranteed to patients as well as health care workers.