New Kentucky law protects hospital workers, patients from hazardous surgical smoke

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has signed a law requiring hospitals and outpatient surgery centers that use energy-generating devices to use a smoke evacuation system during surgical procedures that are likely to produce surgical smoke, OR Today reported.

The signing makes Kentucky the third state, after Rhode Island and Colorado, to pass similar legislation, according to the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, which represents the interests of more than 200,000 perioperative nurses nationwide.

Kentucky's law, signed March 22, is designed to protect operating room nurses, operating room personnel and patients from the health hazards of surgical smoke. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2022. 

"While it took some time to work through the legislative system, AORN is impressed that Kentucky has taken this important step toward workplace safety at a time when many other states face resistance to their smoke evacuation bills. Kentucky has shown leadership and compassion and now stands on the right side of history on this issue," Jennifer Pennock, senior manager of AORN government affairs, said in a March 24 news release. "Our work for similar legislation will continue across the U.S. until smoke in the operating room is as unacceptable as cigarette smoke on airplanes."

Read more about the law here



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