Publish Date: August 9, 2021
AORN Ramps Up Advocacy on Behalf of Periop Teams
Sign AORN’s Surgical Smoke Petition to OSHA
AORN and our members have been advocating for years to make their ORs surgical smoke-free and to pass surgical smoke evacuation policies in their states.
In 2018, Rhode Island became the first state to enact legislation to ensure the use of surgical smoke evacuation systems, with Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon and Illinois following suit. Many more states are moving down the path toward legislative action.
AORN has expanded its state-by-state advocacy efforts around smoke evacuation because – despite a 1988 alert from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizing that smoke created from burning flesh during electrosurgery is a health hazard – the agency never issued regulations requiring worker and patient protections.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health care workers and our entire health care system in unprecedented ways. Now is the time to petition OSHA to adopt a regulatory requirement to ensure that 100% of surgical workplaces are smoke-free,” says Jennifer Pennock, MS, AORN Associate Director of Government Affairs.
AORN is launching a national petition to urge OSHA, as the agency charged with setting and enforcing standards for safe working conditions, to act on its own hazard finding.
“We hope adults in every state will sign on in support of OR nurses, perioperative teams and surgical patients,” Pennock adds. “There are several technologies available to safely and effectively eliminate surgical smoke – and no reason NOT to do this.”
AORN will deliver this national petition to OSHA in November in honor of Perioperative Nurses Week.