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Help! We're Getting a New Laser in our Theatres

Help! We're Getting a New Laser in our Theatres

Is there a new laser coming into your perioperative suite and you’re not sure where to start? When introducing a new laser into the operating theatre, there are several critical considerations to ensure patient safety, efficacy of treatment, and the well-being of the healthcare team. Here’s a deep dive into what you need to keep in mind:

Initial Laser Safety Education

Ensure that all personnel who will be operating or coming into contact with the laser have received comprehensive laser safety education because the workplace health and safety responsibilities for lasers in the workplace are no different to any other piece of equipment. Education includes understanding the physics of the laser, its applications, and potential hazards. According to the Australia/New Zealand Standards, everyone who comes in contact with a laser in their workplace must have laser safety training. Have you seen our position statement on education in the surgical setting? Here it is.

Continuing Professional Development

Stay updated with the latest guidelines and best practices related to laser use in medical settings. Regular refresher courses every five years can be beneficial so you can remind yourself of what you remember, and brush up on what you’ve forgotten. Our Refresher Course is quick and easy for you to do an update and maintain your CPD hours for the board.

Laser Safety Officer Role

Appoint a Laser Safety Officer if one isn’t already in place. If your team is large, consider having a deputy for when they are unavailable. The LSO is responsible for overseeing laser safety protocols and ensuring compliance with regulations. They are also the ones who organise education for their team. The LSO is your “go to” for all things laser!

Laser Safety Guidelines

Implement and adhere to strict safety guidelines, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like laser safety goggles, using an evacuator, and appropriate signage. We cover all of these essentials in both the Laser Safety Officer / User / Operator Course and the Basic Laser Safety Course and these courses include policy and procedure templates to make life easier! 

Equipment and Environment

Conduct thorough checks on the new laser equipment before use. This includes verifying its functionality, calibration, and safety features. The equipment should be tested and calibrated before every list and an annual laser safety audit undertaken.
Ensure the operating theatre is appropriately prepared for laser procedures. This may involve controlling the environment to reduce the risk of fire (e.g., removing flammable materials) and ensuring proper ventilation. It also includes signage, covering the windows, ensuring fire equipment is accessible and that all personnel are laser safety educated.

      Regulatory Compliance

      Familiarise yourself with and comply with local and national regulations regarding the use of lasers in medical settings. The two key ones to be aware of are the Australian Standards (1) and the ACORN Standards (2).
      Maintain meticulous records of laser use, including patient information, procedure details, and any adverse events. Report any incidents as required by regulatory bodies to your Laser Safety Committee for them to communicate with the Workplace Health and Safety team.

          By addressing these considerations, you can help ensure that the introduction of a new laser into the operating theatre is done safely and effectively, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes and maintaining high standards of clinical practice.

          As always, if you have any questions, we are here to help, please reach out to us.

          1. AS/NZS 4173:2018, Safe use of lasers and intense light sources in health care. Standards Australia. https://store.standards.org.au/product/as-nzs-4173-2018

          2. Australian College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN) (2023). Standards for Safe and Quality Care in the Perioperative Environment (SSQCPE). https://www.acorn.org.au/standards.

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          Post Disclaimer

          This blog post has been vigilantly researched and fact checked to ensure that it is accurate, reliable and up to date. You must keep in mind that errors and omissions may occur and that we welcome any feedback or corrections in this regard. We encourage you to do your own research to verify the accuracy and contemporary nature of the information presented.

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