Mercury spill suspends OR operations

OSHA Healthcare Connection, April 7, 2009

The operating room at Sun Health Boswell Hospital in Sun City, AZ, became non-operational when 22 to 30 milliliters of mercury spilled floor, according to The Arizona Republic, March 23. The chemical spill occurred after a medical device malfunctioned.

Seven employees in the OR were evacuated after removing contaminated medical booties, and throwing a blanket over the spill. Workers were tested for exposure after the spill, but no one appeared to be contaminated.

Mercury is a hazard in many types of healthcare facilities. For a mercury elimination checklist adapted for medical practices and clinics, go to the Tools page at the OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

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