Colorado Now Requires Hospitals and ASCs to Adopt, Implement Policies to Prevent Exposure to Surgical Smoke

Article

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law new legislation that will require licensed hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to adopt and implement policies to prevent human exposure to surgical smoke. Surgical smoke results from thermal destruction of human tissue by heat producing devices such as lasers and electrocautery knives commonly used during surgery. The new law covers all planned surgical procedures likely to generate surgical smoke and becomes effective May 1, 2021.

Colorado follows Rhode Island in this legislative commitment to the protection and safety of perioperative nurses and their colleagues on the surgical team.

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) spearheaded the law’s passage with the support of the Colorado Nurses Association and the Colorado Hospital Association. “After hearing from our nurses about the need for uniform evacuation procedures to eliminate surgical smoke in their operating rooms, lawmakers agreed to take this action to ensure smoke-free operating rooms for the state’s surgical teams,” said Amy Hader, AORN's director of government affairs. “Colorado’s early lead on this important issue will help the state attract and retain top surgical nursing talent for years to come.” ”

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), each year an estimated 500,000 workers, including surgeons, nurses, anesthesia professionals, and surgical technologists, are exposed to laser or electrosurgical smoke. This smoke plume can contain toxic gases and vapors such as benzene, hydrogen cyanide, and formaldehyde, bioaerosols, dead and live cellular material (including blood fragments), and viruses. Prolonged exposure – of the kind experienced by perioperative registered nurses – can lead to serious and life-threatening respiratory diseases.

Source: AORN

Related Videos
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology  (Image credit: APIC)
Patient Safety: Infection Control Today's Trending Topic for March
Infection Control Today® (ICT®) talks with John Kimsey, vice president of processing optimization and customer success for Steris.
Picture at AORN’s International Surgical Conference & Expo 2024
An eye instrument holding an intraocular lens for cataract surgery. How to clean and sterilize it appropriately?   (Adobe Stock 417326809By Mohammed)
Photo of a model operating room. (Photo courtesy of Indigo-Clean and Kenall Manufacturing)
Washington, USA, US Treasury Department and Inspector General Office.    (Adobe Stock File 210945332 by Brian_Kinney)
A plasmid is a small circular DNA molecule found in bacteria and some other microscopic organisms. (Adobe Stock 522876298 by Love Employee)
Peter B. Graves, BSN, RN, CNOR, independent perioperative, consultant, speaker, and writer, Clinical Solution, LLC, Corinth, Texas; Maureen P. Spencer, M.Ed, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC, infection preventionist consultant, Infection Preventionist Consultants, Halifax, Massachusetts; Lena Camperlengo, DrPH, MPH, RN, Senior Director, Premier, Inc, Ocala, Florida.
Related Content