Observing Precautions against Cutaneous Injuries by Theatre Workers
Background: Health care workers are at risk of acquiring blood-borne viral infections from contact with infected blood and body fluids. Operating room workers are at even greater risk because of their greater exposure and the invasive procedures they perform.
Method: A questionnaire was used to determine the type and sites of injuries obtained at work by operating room workers and how much precaution they took to avoid sustaining such injuries. Knowledge of what to do following injury was also tested.
Results: Seven peri-operative nurses,15 nurse anaesthetists,23 resident doctors and 2 consultants responded to the questionnaire. Most injuries occurred on the left index finger. Injuries were sustained from needle sticks, broken ampoules, surgical blades, needle holders and bolts used on bone screws. Artery forceps, oxygen cylinder keys, bare hands, teeth and files were used to open injection ampoules. Gloves were worn while performing or assisting at surgery but not always for procedures like setting up blood, passing naso-gastric or endotracheal tubes, or opening injection ampoules. The risk of acquiring injury from instruments in theatre was 4.49%. 59.5% (28) of operating room workers took no measures to prevent injuries. 14.8% (7) of workers still recapped needles after use. Following injury, 78.7% (37) of operating room workers cleaned the wound with antiseptic and covered with dressing. 8.5% (4) cleaned the wound and left it open while10.6% (5) did nothing about any injuries sustained.
Conclusion: Theatre workers need to change their present casual attitude towards taking preventive measures against injury at work.
(Nig J Surg Res 2001; 3: 147 – 153)
Cutaneous injuries, Theatre staff, Awareness