Meeting The Joint Commission and AORN Fire Safety Standards and Guidelines

The Joint Commission and AORN are two leading institutions that are working hard to create a higher standard of care in hospitals. The Joint Commission’s surveys are always around the corner, where hospitals are expected to show the quality of the care they provide according to their Life Safety & Environment of Care Document List and Review Tool. AORN has published its 2021 Edition of Guidelines for Perioperative Practice, and it’s filled with over 1,000 pages of incredible, in-depth insights on how to provide the best perioperative care.

One of the most important topics covered in these guidelines is perioperative Fire Safety listed under Environment of Care. An often overlooked aspect of perioperative fire safety is fiber-optic light cables as an ignition source. GloShield is a single-use surgical safety device designed to mitigate the fire risk associated with fiber-optic light cables as an ignition source. Read below to learn how GloShield aligns with TJC standards and AORN guidelines.


AORN Guidelines

The following are guidelines in the AORN 2021 Edition of Guidelines for Perioperative Practice pertaining to fire safety:

4.1 – “Identify potential hazards associated with fire safety and establish safe practices for communication, prevention, suppression, and evacuation.”

Perioperative care teams should acknowledge that fiber-optic light cables are a potential hazard associated with fire safety and use GloShield to mitigate this risk.

4.4 Based on results of fire prevention assessment, implement the necessary interventions (preventive measures in Section 4.6).”

AORN highlights preventive measures for fire safety. Prevention is the best medicine to avoid fires and burns.

4.5 – “Use ignition sources (eg, active electrosurgical electrodes, drills, heated probes, lasers, electrocautery devices, fiber-optic light cords, retractors) according to manufacturer’s instructions for use and applicable professional guidelines.”

This includes complying with the FDA’s recommendation – “when not in use, place ignition sources, such as … fiber-optic illumination light sources … in a designated area away from the patient (e.g., in a holster or a safety cover) and not directly on the patient or surgical drapes,” and NFPA 99 Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities – “… fiber-optic devices shall be secured as recommended by the manufacturer of the device, when not in active use.” GloShield is the only safety cover for fiber-optic light cables currently on the market.

4.6Prevent contact between fuels (e.g. alcohol-based skin antiseptic agents, collodion, drapes, ET tubes, gowns) and ignition sources.

Preventing contact between fuels and ignition sources breaks the fire triangle, thereby preventing fire. GloShield aligns with Section 4.6 because GloShield’s ceramic heat shield and medical-grade silicone body insulate the tip of the fiber-optic light cable and prevent contact between ignition source (light cable) and fuel (drapes, skin).

Employing these guidelines from AORN can be a huge step toward meeting the standards set by The Joint Commission (TJC) in their Life Safety & Environment of Care Document List and Review Tool. The following TJC standards are applicable to fire safety in the hospital setting:

EC.02.01.01 The Hospital Manages Safety and Security Risks

EP1: The hospital implements its process to identify safety and security risks associated with the environment of care that could affect patients, staff, and other people coming to the hospital’s facilities.

Note: Risks are identified from internal sources such as ongoing monitoring of the environment, results of root cause analyses, results of proactive risk assessments of high-risk processes, and from credible external sources such as Sentinel Event Alerts. Fiber-optic light cables are a commonly identified safety hazard in the surgical setting.

EP3: The hospital takes action to minimize or eliminate identified safety and security risks in the physical environment.

Utilizing GloShield minimizes or eliminates the risk associated with these identified light cables in the OR.

EC.01.01.01 The Hospital Plans Activities to Minimize Risks in the Environment of Care.

EP7: The hospital has a written plan for managing Fire Safety.

Implementing GloShield in order to mitigate fire and burn risk can help align your ORs with various guidelines and recommendations from The Joint Commission and AORN. Contact Jackson Medical and the GloShield team for additional details and support.

Latest AORN Surgical Fire Safety Guidelines Hot SheetDownload