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Electrical Safety in the Perioperative Environment


According to the Association of Perioperative Practice, a perioperative environment is an area that is utilized before, during, and after a surgical procedure. This is an environment that supports procedures that are very essential to the success of any surgical procedure. Personnel engaged in carrying out procedures in this environment vary from one hospital to the other. For instance, there are surgeons who carry out the actual procedures and nurses who help the surgeons. A perioperative environment ought to be very clean to prevent against any forms of infections that are usually fatal or may lead to complications after surgery. This type of environment is usually made to suit the patient’s comfort. The work of the personnel involved is to make the patients feel as accommodating as possible. They should also implement the procedures of safety to be carried out among other issues ethical in nature (Association of Perioperative Practice). In a perioperative environment, issues of electrical safety come up due to the high level of utilization of electrical equipment during surgical procedures. This study will explore the dangers posed by electrical equipment especially to the patients and personnel as well.

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Electrical Safety Procedures

When using electrical equipment, certain safety procedures ought to be observed. Matters pertaining to the installation of electrical equipment have to adhere to nationally required codes. Such codes are for instance OHSA regulations-29 CFR 1910, Underwriter Laboratories, and National Fire Protection Association (Massachusetts Institute of Technology 9). Electrical safety should be observed in terms of how equipment is wired, grounded, and insulated.

Factors involved in an Electrical Shock

When using electrical equipment, certain factors contribute to electrical shocks. The eventualities may lead to damage or dysfunction of certain vital organs of the body, like the lungs, liver, and heart. Damage to the body tissue may also be experienced depending on the degree of electrical shock (Massachusetts Institute of Technology 26). The degree of electrical shock is dependant on the quantity of current flowing through the body, the current path through the body from point of entry to exit. This fact explains why it is not recommended to have jewelry or anything metallic during such procedures. Finally, the length of time the body is in current dictates the level of damage that may be done to tissues, bones, and body organs (Massachusetts Institute of Technology 32).

Measures to Curb Electrical Shock Severity

Adherence to universal procedures set out to govern the installation and use of electrical equipment would greatly prevent the occurrence of electrical shock (Nussbaum 67). However, when such risks occur, the Association of Perioperative Practice recommends that the victim should be isolated from the source of current and vital functions established. Proper education regarding the use of such equipment should also be done to personnel operating such equipment. This will reduce the frequency of occurrence of such accidents. However, when severe burns are experienced or loss of consciousness, medical attention should be sought immediately by referring the casualty to a medical doctor (Association of Perioperative Practice).


Electrical shock can be greatly reduced by adherence to said procedures in the perioperative environment. Personnel using such equipment should be very careful when operating them. The use of such equipment is widely useful in medical circles especially in revitalizing rhythmic heart functions and subduing patients by disrupting superficial muscle functions. It’s also used in the judicial systems by electrocuting offenders as capital punishment but their safety usually depends on their operator.

Works Cited

Association of Perioperative Practice. Perioperative Environments. 2005. Web.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Electrical Mechanical Safety. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008.

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Nussbaum, George. Perioperative Environment 20/20 in 2020: An Issue of Perioperative Nursing Clinics. New York: Saunders, 2010.

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