SAFETY IN THE OPERATING ROOM
Section I. INTRODUCTION
a. Safety. Safety is freedom from danger, injury, or hazard. Safety in the
surgical suite necessitates the maintenance of safeguards for both the patient and the
OR team. The safety of the patient must always be considered when preparing an OR
as well as giving patient care. Thus, safety measures should involve a hazard-free
environment, safe work methods, and safe equipment. Accident prevention is a
responsibility shared by all members of the OR team.
b. Factors in Accidents. The main reasons for accidents in the surgical suite
are--negligence by the personnel, careless work habits, improper use of equipment, and
use of faulty equipment. Most of these hazards can be avoided if all personnel in the
surgical suite observe safety rules, practice safety measures, and recognize and
eliminate (or report) hazards. Knowledge of safety measures required for the protection
of patients and personnel is therefore of primary importance to the OR specialist.
ELIMINATION OF HAZARDS
Safety in the OR can be achieved by being constantly alert and vigilant to the
inherent dangers and eliminating hazards as soon as they develop. Patients have lost
their lives through careless and unsafe practices that have resulted in accidents, deadly
explosions, and fires. Operating room specialists have many opportunities to become
aware of existing hazards; they, therefore, play a major role in eliminating such hazards.
Section II. EXPLOSION AND FIRE HAZARDS
a. Hazardous Locations. Hazardous locations are those rooms in which either
combustible anesthetic agents or disinfecting agents are stored and the areas in
anesthetizing locations extending upward to five feet from the floor.
b. Anesthetizing Location. These are areas in the hospital where combustible
anesthetic agents are administered to patients. Operating rooms, delivery rooms,
anesthesia rooms, and rooms used for preoperative preparation of patients are included
in these locations. Also included are corridors, utility rooms, and other areas used for