Chemical and Biological Risks in Professionals Working in Operating Rooms

  • Paula CarneiroEmail author
  • Ana C. Braga
  • Roberto Cabuço
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 819)


Certain health professionals are at risk of having work-related accidents, mainly due to the contact with biological and chemical materials. The operating room is a place where this type of accident occurs frequently.

This work addresses the problematic of occupational risks associated with operating rooms, aiming to identify and analyze the biological and chemical risks, as well as the professionals’ behaviors towards them. The possible operating rooms risks will be presented through the analysis of the results of a questionnaire distributed to operating room health professionals from a hospital in northern Portugal.

Eighty six professionals participated in this study through the completion of the questionnaire. The results revealed the occurrence of 39.5% (95% CI [29.3%, 50.7%]) of accidents involving biological material, and 11.8% (95% CI [6.1%, 21.0%]) of accidents involving chemical material. Not all professionals have had training in occupational risks (63.5% and 47.0% reported having had training in biological risks and chemical risks, respectively). Fisher’s exact test did not reveal a statistically significant association (p > 0.05) between having had training in biological/chemical risks and having had an accident involving biological/chemical material. The chi-square independence test revealed a statistically significant association (X2 = 25.978, df = 3, p < 0.05) between the occurrence of accidents involving biological material and the professional category. The occurrence of this type of accident is directly related to the professionals “surgeons”.

It is suggested that health professionals and the Institution itself be more involved in risk prevention and, mainly, in promoting a safe working environment.


Operating room Chemical risk Biological risk 



This work has been supported by COMPETE: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007043 and FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e para a Tecnologia - within the Project Scope: UID/CEC/00319/2013.


  1. ACSS (2011) Technical Recommendations for Operating Room (in Portuguese). Accessed 18 Apr 2016
  2. Barash P, Cullen B, Stoelting R, Cahalan M, Stock M, Ortega R (2014) Manual of Clinical Anesthesia, 7th edn. Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  3. Canalli R (2012) Occupational risks and accidents with biological material in collective health nursing professionals (in Portuguese) PhD thesis. University of São Paulo, BrazilGoogle Scholar
  4. Duarte A, Martins O (2014) Nursing in Operating Room (in Portuguese), 1st edn. Lidel – Technical editions, Lda, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  5. Faria A (2008) Caracterização e Análise dos Acidentes de Trabalho com Profissionais de Enfermagem numa Instituição Hospitalar (in Portuguese). Master’s dissertation. University of Minho, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  6. Goméz EC (2012a) Protective gloves against microorganism (in Spanish). Technical Standards of Prevention. National Institute of Health and Safety at WorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Goméz EC (2012b) Protective clothing against chemical products (in Spanish). Technical Standard of Prevention (NTP) 929. National Center of means of protection. National Institute of Safety and Hygiene at WorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Kasatpibal N et al (2016) Prevalence and risk factors of needlestick injuries, sharps injuries, and blood and body fluid exposures among operating room nurses in Thailand. Am J Infect Control 44:85–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lima J (2008) The use of personal protective equipment by nursing professionals - Practices related to the use of gloves (in Portuguese). Master’s dissertation. University of Minho, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  10. Lopes A (2012) Management of Operating Room (in Portuguese). Master’s dissertation. University of Minho, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  11. Márquez J, Carreño M, González J, Díaz R, Otaolarruchi J (2014) Recommendations in the selection of protection and cleaning equipment in a possible Ebola case (in Spanish). Accessed 12 Apr 2016
  12. Morgan GE, Mikhail MS, Murray MJ (2006) Clinical Anesthesia (in Portuguese), 3rd edn. Revinter, Lda, Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  13. NIOSH (2009) State of the Sector - Healthcare and Social Assistance. Accessed 5 Jan 2016
  14. Perdigoto P (2012) Risks in the Operating Room – realities that can influence the management (in Portuguese). Master’s dissertation. Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, PortugalGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ALGORITMI Centre, School of EngineeringUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Main Military Hospital/Higher InstituteLuandaAngola

Personalised recommendations