Safety and Communication in the Operating Room

Safety and Communication in the Operating Room: A Safety Questionnaire After the Implementation of a Blood-Borne Pathogen Exposure Checkpoint in the Surgical Safety Checklist Preprocedure Time-Out.

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019 Oct;45(10):662-668. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2019.07.004. Epub 2019 Aug 24.

Kane P, Marley R, Daney B, Gabra JN, Thompson TR.



The Surgical Safety Checklist (SSC) decreases patient morbidity and mortality and improves operating room (OR) communication. However, the SSC does not currently include any discussion on employee safety. One institution has implemented a blood-borne pathogen exposure (BBPE) checkpoint in the SSC in order to improve employee safety and to further improve communication. The aim of this study was to determine if the implementation of a BBPE checkpoint improved caregiver safety and communication in the OR.


This was a multidisciplinary prospective survey study in which an anonymous questionnaire was distributed to all OR personnel who handle sharps. Survey responses were analyzed for demographics and BBPE safety attitudes. The frequency of reported BBPE incidents collected from quality improvement data 12 months before and after the implementation of the BBPE checkpoint were reviewed.


Caregivers feel safer in the OR with the BBPE checkpoint (p < 0.001). Communication was improved. Compliance in trauma surgeries was less than elective. Reported BBPE incidents were significantly decreased based on quality improvement data (p = 0.045).


The BBPE checkpoint was implemented in the SSC at one institution in order to emphasize employee safety and improve communication. The results shed light on the attitudes of OR personnel by suggesting an improvement in safety and communication. In addition, there has been decrease of reported BBPE incidents among OR personnel. Universal implementation of a BBPE checkpoint could improve provider safety and communication in all ORs.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 31451354

DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2019.07.004

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