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Surgical smoke can pose risks to health workers

What happens during a surgery cannot only be impactful on the health of the patient. It could also have effects on the health and safety of the health care workers involved in the procedure.

There are various harmful things that could potentially happen to a health care worker during a surgery. They could suffer accidents involving the equipment used during the surgery. Also, they could be exposed to harmful substances during the course of the procedure.

One sort of dangerous substance that can be in a surgical area is surgical smoke. Certain types of surgical procedures (such as those involving lasers) can generate smoke that can have various toxic contaminants in it.

A bill is being considered in California that is aimed at helping protect health care workers and patients from surgical smoke. One of the things the bill would do is make using scavenging systems mandatory for health care facilities. Such systems can help reduce the risks surgical smoke poses to heath care workers.

A similar bill was considered last year, but ended up being vetoed by the governor. One wonders if this year’s bill will fare differently.

Exposure to the contaminants in surgical smoke can cause a wide range of health problems for a health care worker. Examples include: asthma, chronic bronchitis, eye irritation, emphysema, nose irritation and throat irritation.

So, surgical smoke exposure could have major impacts on a health care worker’s life. When a health care worker is harmed in relation to their work in surgical procedures, such as through exposure to such smoke, among the impactful matters that can come up for them are workers’ comp matters. Given the important role workers’ comp benefits can play in worker’s efforts to recover from workplace harm, a health care worker may have many questions and concerns related to such matters. Skilled workers’ comp lawyers can advise injured health care workers on their options and rights throughout the process of pursuing workers’ comp benefits.

Source: Safety+Health, “California bill takes aim at surgical smoke exposure,” April 4, 2017

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