(2) Other methods of elimination of gas concentration are the use of closed
techniques in the administration of anesthetics and the use of nonflammable anesthetic
agents. Both of these methods are the responsibility of the anesthetist.
b. Disinfecting Agents. Tinctures of disinfectants such as tincture of iodine
and tincture of merthiolate are combustible. Improper use of these disinfectants (for
example, spilling, using an excessive amount in skin preparation, or tipping containers)
is a source of danger. Aqueous germicides are recommended for use rather than
ELIMINATION OF SOURCES OF IGNITION
a. Sources of Ignition. The main sources of ignition include electrostatic spark
(which is the most common), fixed and portable electrical equipment, and open flames
or heat above the temperature at which gases will ignite.
b. Electrostatic Spark. Electrostatic spark is caused by friction between unlike
and nonconductive objects or materials. Everyone is familiar with sparks which are
seen and felt when an individual combs his hair, shuffles his feet across a rug, or slides
in or out of his car on a cold dry day. For purposes of this discussion, the precautions
that must be observed to eliminate these electrostatic sparks are of two categories. The
first category (c, below) emphasizes those precautions, which must be observed by the
OR personnel; the second category (d, below) emphasizes the precautions to be
observed in the construction of the OR, its equipment, and use. All are important.
c. Precautions To Be Observed By Personnel.
(1) The hair must be covered completely. Operating room personnel must
wear a cap or hood; the patient's hair should be covered with a cap or a cotton hand
towel that is pinned about the head.
(2) Materials that accumulate static (wool, nylon, rayon, sharkskin, silk, or
plastics) must not be worn. However, hose and underclothing of these fabrics whose
entire surfaces are in contact with the skin are permitted. Slips or petticoats must be
made of cotton because of their free-hanging skirts. Outer garments must be made of
(3) Conductive shoes should be worn. If this type of shoe is not available,
conductive stick-ons, slip-ons, or booties may be worn with ordinary shoes. Shoes must
not have ferrous (iron) nails because of the danger of percussion sparks. Conductive
shoes, etc., are not conductive if the shoes are covered with an accumulation of wax,
dust, or dirt. Soles should be cleaned at regular intervals, usually daily, with a detergent
solution. Each day, the shoes should be tested for conductivity on the conduct meter.