Safety award for Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital, in Dunedin, has received a national occupational safety award for eliminating toxic smoke plumes in operating theatres.

Using smoke evacuation equipment, and international expertise, the private hospital eliminated electrosurgical plumes, improving air quality.

The award was the WorkSafe New Zealand best initiative to address a health hazard, one of the categories in the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards presented at a gala evening in Auckland on Wednesday.

Mercy staff had reported fewer headaches and respiratory conditions since the plumes were eliminated, a press release from the awards said.

Mercy chief executive Richard Whitney said the hospital had removed a potentially significant long-term health hazard.

''The toxicity of the smoke plume is well documented. From a sector point of view, it's not that straightforward to achieve what we've achieved.

''There is capital expenditure involved. There's significant education training. We're reliant on everyone putting their shoulder to the wheel to make all this happen.''

He was delighted with the award.

''It really is an absolute buzz - recognition for the staff right across the organisation for a job well done.''



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