Kentucky Mandates Smoke Evacuation

Kentucky became the third state to require healthcare facilities to make use of smoke  evacuation systems when Governor Andy Beshear signed new surgical smoke evacuation legislation on March 22nd. Surgical smoke is a biproduct of thermal destruction of heat generating devices used in up to 90% of surgical procedures. The law will take effect January 1st, 2022.

In the United States, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that 500,000 health care workers are exposed to surgical smoke annually, including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical technologists. Surgical smoke is known to include hazardous components such as ultra-fine particles, volatile organic compounds, toxic gases, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide. Prolonged exposure to such constituents can lead to respiratory diseases. In fact, evidence suggest that perioperative nurses experience up to twice the prevalence of certain respiratory diseases compared to the general population.

Kentucky follows in the footsteps of Rhode Island and Colorado, the first two states to pass surgical smoke evacuation legislation, signaling that more and more states are utilizing legislative power to protect healthcare workers from workplace hazards.
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