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Petition OSHA to Make Your Workplace Safe and Require Surgical Smoke Evacuation

Most surgeries in the U.S. produce surgical smoke, as a result of contacting tissue with energy-based devices such as lasers, ultrasonic devices, and electrosurgical instruments commonly used for cutting, coagulating, and vaporizing tissue. 

Hazardous contents of surgical smoke plume are known to be airborne transmitted and if inhaled, can cause respiratory symptoms similar to those of carbon monoxide exposure and can lead to both acute and chronic illnesses. 

Surgical smoke can be eliminated safely and effectively with available technologies, yet too many surgeries still occur without evacuation. Absent a sweeping requirement from OSHA, states across the country have begun to take up legislation to ensure harmful surgical smoke is evacuated from their operating rooms. But that is not enough. The agency must act now.

Sign AORN’s petition to OSHA. Tell the agency it must act now to protect health care workers and patients from harmful surgical smoke. 

Petition Text

Surgical smoke contains a wide variety of mutagenic and carcinogenic particulates, toxic gases, and hazardous chemicals which can lead to short and long-term illnesses and diseases in health care team members who are at risk for exposure. 

Surgical smoke can be safely and effectively evacuated by using dedicated and approved smoke plume evacuation systems. 

In support of operating room nurses, we, the undersigned, petition OSHA as follows:

Establish a regulatory requirement for the use of surgical smoke evacuation systems designed to capture, filter, and remove surgical smoke before the plume makes respiratory and ocular contact with the occupants of operating rooms and procedural rooms nationwide.

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