Journal List > J Korean Med Assoc > v.54(7) > 1042463

Bai and Lee: Risk factors and safety measures in the operation room


Hospital personnel are subject to various occupational hazards. Along with the development of modern medicine, novel and diverse medical appliances have been introduced to enhance the safety of the hospital environment. But paradoxically, some advancement of the appliances have led to exposure to greater risk for the personnel in the operation room. In the past, the greatest risk factor in the operation room was outbreak of fire and explosion, but the risk of explosion has vanished by the development of nonexplosive anesthetics. However, newly introduced electrical appliances and unknown infectious diseases appear to be new risk factors affecting health workers in the operation room. The goal of this review is to investigate the current risk factors and thereby prepare suitable preventive methods. We have reviewed the main occupational hazards affecting health workers in the operation room: accidents such as fires, explosions, electrical accidents; exposure to residual anesthetic gas; radiation; various infections; drug dependencies.


1. Link UJ, Feinberg B. Electrical safety in hospitals: a current review of principles and practices. 1976. Eire, PA: American Sterilizer Company.
2. Day FJ. Electrical safety revisited: a new wrinkle. Anesthesiology. 1994. 80:220–221.
3. Ehrenwerth J, Seifert HA. Barash PG, Cullen BF, Stoelting RK, editors. Electrical and fire safety. Clinical anesthesia. 2001. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;143–163.
4. Early MW, Murray RH, Caloggero JM. National electric code handbook. 1993. 6th ed. Quincy: National Fire Protection Association.
5. Gross JB. Less jolts from your volts: electrical safety in the operating room. ASA Refresh Courses Anesthesiol. 2005. 33:101–114.
6. Vaisman AI. Working conditions in the operating room and their effect on the health of anesthetists. Eksp Khir Anesteziol. 1967. 12:44–49.
7. Spence AA. Hazards in the operating theatre. Contamination of air by anaesthetics. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1973. 52:360–361.
8. Vessey MP, Nunn JF. Occupational hazards of anesthesia. Br Med J. 1980. 281:696–698.
9. Hemminki K, Kyyronen P, Lindbohm ML. Spontaneous abortions and malformations in the offspring of nurses exposed to anaesthetic gases, cytostatic drugs, and other potential hazards in hospitals, based on registered information of outcome. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1985. 39:141–147.
10. Gestal JJ. Occupational hazards in hospitals: accidents, radiation, exposure to noxious chemicals, drug addiction and psychic problems, and assault. Br J Ind Med. 1987. 44:510–520.
11. McGowan C, Heaton B, Stephenson RN. Occupational x-ray exposure of anaesthetists. Br J Anaesth. 1996. 76:868–869.
12. Behrman AJ, Shofer FS, Green-McKenzie J. Trends in bloodborne pathogen exposure and follow-up at an urban teaching hospital: 1987 to 1997. J Occup Environ Med. 2001. 43:370–376.
13. Berry AJ, Greene ES. The risk of needlestick injuries and needlestick-transmitted diseases in the practice of anesthesiology. Anesthesiology. 1992. 77:1007–1021.
14. Buergler JM, Kim R, Thisted RA, Cohn SJ, Lichtor JL, Roizen MF. Risk of human immunodeficiency virus in surgeons, anesthesiologists, and medical students. Anesth Analg. 1992. 75:118–124.
15. Panlilio AL, Foy DR, Edwards JR, Bell DM, Welch BA, Parrish CM, Culver DH, Lowry PW, Jarvis WR, Perlino CA. Blood contacts during surgical procedures. JAMA. 1991. 265:1533–1537.
Similar articles