To comply with the COSHH Regulations 2002 and to protect the health of your staff you must ensure that levels of personal exposure to anaesthetic gases and vapours in the work place are consistently below the Work Exposure Limits (WELs) that apply and are ideally as low as is "reasonably practicable". Having an appropriate annual anaesthetic monitoring program in place is also a specific requirement for RCVS Practice Standards and Training practices and is strongly advised by the HSE.
An integral part of this process, and the only certain way of knowing that the Vets and Nurses in your practice are not exposed to anaesthetic vapours, is the regular monitoring of anaesthetic gases in your workplace to assess their specific exposure levels.
Because of differences in the working practices of individuals and because anaesthetic vapours are often most concentrated in the Veterinary Surgeon's or Nurse's breathing zone, environmental monitoring (measuring background levels in operating and recovery areas) will not give an accurate measure of personal exposure, which is what the statutory WELs refer to. Theatre isn't the only area exposure to volatile gases occurs! Post-anaesthesia patients will continue to exhale anaesthetic gases into the atmosphere.
Personal monitoring is the approved method of determining personal anaesthetic exposure and has several benefits:
You don't have to monitor all Vets & Nurses, ideally the operating Veterinary Surgeon and the Nurse/Anaesthetist will give representative results. However, it is also important to consider those who spend long periods in the operating and recovery areas.
Periodic monitoring may not detect adverse trends early enough and is prone to be overlooked. The HSE consider regular monitoring at pre-arranged intervals, to be the safest option either 6 monthly or annually. The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme stipulates that monitoring must be carried out at least annually.
We provide you with a personal monitoring "badge" - a diffuser tube mounted in a holder that clips to the neck of the operating gown or tunic of the person to be monitored. Badges are supplied with full instructions and sample submission forms. It is recommended that the individual(s) being monitored wear the badge for their whole working day, regardless of whether they are only operating for part of it. Alternatively, they could wear it for a shorter period, provided that they log details of their day on the submission form (i.e. times when they were and were not wearing it and in which areas). You have a period of 4 weeks to return the badge(s) from when you receive them in order that you can pick a busy operating day.
Once monitoring has been carried out you then simply return the badge(s) and form to us for analysis. We report results (within 7-10 working days) and include comments and recommendations for follow up actions if/as appropriate.
We can advise regarding a suitable monitoring program/schedule for you and provide you with badges for repeat monitoring at pre-arranged intervals.
All anaesthetic agents within your practice have to be monitored and a separate monitoring badge is required for each anaesthetic agent.
To order or for more information or further advice, please contact us or complete our enquiry form: