Health and Safety at Work as a Top Priority


As recently as 2003, the International Labour Organization (ILO) began to observe World Day for Safety and Health at Work to stress the prevention of accidents and diseases at work.1

In June 2022, the International Labour Conference (ILC) decided to include “a safe and healthy working environment” in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work.1

Now, on the 28th of April, the ILO celebrates this decision, bringing together experts and constituents to discuss the implications it has for the world of work, as well as how to practically implement this right in the world of work.1

Education is one way to help promote the importance of safety at work. Continuing education allows employers and employees to stay up to date with the latest rules and regulations in their industry. 

In the healthcare industry, with nurses and OR staff specifically, education around the hazards of surgical smoke and how they can combat these dangers is one topic that has gained a lot of traction.

an operating room setting with surgical smoke present in the air

At this year’s Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Global Surgical Conference and Expo, many nurses claimed they weren’t aware of the hazards of surgical smoke until recently, even though 90% of surgical procedures generate surgical smoke.2  Smoke that contains 150 chemicals including Benzene and Formaldehyde.3

When attendees were asked what excites them about the future of perioperative nursing, the use of VR in periop education and zero surgical smoke in any OR were both common answers.

Without continued education and the advocacy that came from nurses, the surgical smoke movement wouldn’t be where it is today, with 22 US states introducing or enforcing legislation on requiring the use of surgical smoke evacuation equipment in the OR.

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a significant tool to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem, but also to promote advocacy and raise awareness of how to create a safe and healthy work environment for all employees and employers.

As employers we are responsible for ensuring that the working environment is safe and healthy. As workers we are responsible to work safely, to protect ourselves and not endanger others, and to participate in the implementation of preventive measures.

CONMED is proud to continue providing education to nurses and OR staff so they have the tools and knowledge available to combat surgical smoke for years to come.

Click here to learn more about the hazards of surgical smoke >>

1United Nations. (n.d.). World Day for safety and health at work. United Nations. 
2Steege AL, Boiano JM, Sweeney MH. Secondhand smoke in the operating room? Precautionary practices lacking for surgical smoke. Am J Ind Med. 2016;59(11):1012-1031. 
3Pierce JS, Lacey SE, Lippert JF, Lopez R, Franke JE. Laser-generated air contaminants from medical laser applications: a state-of-the-science review of exposure characterization, health effects, and control. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2011;8(7):447-466