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Research Articles

An audit on medical students' exposures to occupational hazards during cadaveric dissections

Authors:

Y. Mathangasinghe ,

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About Y.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine
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U. M. J. E. Samaranayake,

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About U. M. J. E.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine
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M. H. S. Perera,

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About M. H. S.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine
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H. S. T. M. Maddumaarachchi,

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About H. S. T. M.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine
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D. J. Anthony,

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About D. J.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine
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A. P. Malalasekera

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About A. P.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction

We intended to study the prevalence of occupational hazards in the anatomy laboratory and the safety measures taken by students. Methodology An audit was conducted among two batches of medical students, soon after the completion of the anatomy curriculum. Exposures, practices, health conditions of the students, their suggestions to improve safety measures and self-reported engagement in dissections in each session (in a ten-point Likert scale) were assessed using a validted self – administered questionnaire.

 

Results

Of 196 respondents, 50%(n=98) were males. Mean age was 21.8±1.1 years. During their first-year dissections, 1 5.8% (n = 31) had cut injuries, 86.7%(n=170) had skin contact with cadaver fluids while 5.6%(n=11) had eye splashes. Of those with skin contact, 43.5%(n=74) washed immediately. Of those who had eye splashes, only 18.2%(n=2) washed immediately for 20 minutes as recommended. Nine students reported new nail infections, seven developed allergies to cadaver fluids and 15 developed skin rashes during the period of dissections. Self-reported engagement in dissections positively correlated with the frequency of skin contact with cadaver fluids (r=.161, p=0.035), but not with the frequency of cut injuries (p>.05) or eye splashes (p>.05). Students suggested the following safety measures : 63.3%(n=72)-lab coats, 55.6%(n=109)- masks, 16.8% (n = 3 3) - goggles , 43.9% (n=86)-a lecture on lab safety, 44.4% (n = 87) – a workshop and 40.3% (n=79)-a formal safety protocol.

 

Conclusions

Students are exposed to numerous occupational hazards in the anatomy laboratory. Inadequate adherence to internationally recommended laboratory safety measures may increase the risk of occupational hazards.
How to Cite: Mathangasinghe Y, Samaranayake UMJE, Perera MHS, Maddumaarachchi HSTM, Anthony DJ, Malalasekera AP. An audit on medical students' exposures to occupational hazards during cadaveric dissections. Sri Lanka Anatomy Journal. 2019;3(1):38–45. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/slaj.v3i1.50
Published on 15 Aug 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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