Acute Workplace Hazards in Orthopedic Surgery: Resident Survey Regarding Splash and Workplace Violence Events.
Shawna L. Watson M.D.
Yohe, N., S. J. Swiggett, A. Razi, J. R. Bowman, S. L. Watson, J. M. Pearson, P. W. Hudson, J. C. Patt, S. E. Ames, L. R. Leddy, J. G. Khoury, C. C. Tubb, G. McGwin and B. Ponce (2020). “Acute Workplace Hazards in Orthopedic Surgery: Resident Survey Regarding Splash and Workplace Violence Events.” J Surg Educ Jun 3;S1931-7204(20)30142-2. [Epub ahead of print].
INTRODUCTION: Orthopedic surgery residents are at risk for daily work-related hazards and exposures. Hazards related specific to this specialty includes radiation exposure, smoke inhalation (from electrocautery), and disease transmission through contact with surgical instruments or sharps during procedures. However, minimal research has been focused on other occupational hazard risks in orthopedic surgery including surgical splash events and workplace violence. This study focused on determining (1) whether or not use of protective eyewear in the workplace would be related to the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE); (2) resident education; and (3) the rate of workplace violence toward orthopedic surgery residents during their training. METHODS: An invitation to participate in a web-based, anonymous survey to 46 US allopathic orthopedic surgery residency programs (1207 potential resident respondents). The survey was conceptually divided into the following areas: (1) demographics; (2) training and attitudes concerning occupational hazards; (3) PPE provision and use; (4) sharps injuries and reporting; and (5) general safety knowledge and violence in the workplace. Those who answered yes to having a splatter event or receiving a threat at the hospital were compared to those who did not. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between these outcomes and selected independent variables of interest. p-Values of <0.05 were considered statistically significant. RESULTS: From January 18 to March 31, 2016, 518 surveys were received and included for analysis for a response rate of 42.9% (518/1207). One survey was excluded from analysis due to <50% completed response items. Self-reported program types were 64.5% (334/518) public university-affiliated, 23.2% (120/518) private university affiliated, 7.1% (37/518) community, and 5.2% (27/518) military. Residents were 83.0% = male and 17.0% = female. Overall, reported eye protection usage was 95% amongst all residents and 22% of residents reported experiencing a violent threat in the workplace. The risk of experiencing a splatter event was not statistically associated with residency type, gender, or geographic region. Senior residents were at an increased likelihood of experiencing a splatter event (OR 1.22, [95% CI 1.06-1.41], p = 0.006) when compared to PGY-1 residents. The risk of a violent experience at work was not statistically associated with residency type, year of residency training, or gender. Residents in the Northeast were more likely to have a violent experience (OR 2.78 [95% CI 1.41-5.49] p = 0.003). Overall, residents felt that they had adequate training to prevent occupational hazards (mean of 3.9/5 on Likert scale) and respond to hazards (mean of 3.7/5 Likert). CONCLUSIONS: Occupational hazards are not uncommon in orthopedic surgery training with high rates of improper eyewear PPE use and poor awareness of Occupational Safety and Health Administration and AAOS guidelines. Violence in the workplace impacts over one in 4 residents and training programs and hospitals should improve education and report efforts. Continual yearly PPE training and awareness of AAOS guidelines could be intertwined with duty hour and/or case logs in order to ensure residents are exposed to this material on a regular basis.