Splash injuries occurring during minor surgical procedures are associated with a significant infective risk to the operator. It is a common misconception that minor operations carry low risks.
To determine the prevalence of the practice of Standard Precautions by medical staff in the obstetric and gynaecology (O & G) units of two hospitals in New Zealand, and to assess self‐observed splash injury rates.
A cross‐sectional survey of all doctors working in the O & G units of two public hospitals servicing a population of 435 000. A self‐administered questionnaire was provided to 43 doctors with questions related to the use of Standard Precautions, perceived likelihood of infection from a splash and splash injuries sustained during procedures.
The response rate was 76.6% (n = 33/43). Of the respondents, only 30.3% (n = 10) used Standard Precautions during minor procedures. Sixty‐four per cent (n = 21) routinely used goggles/visor for eye protection. Forty‐five per cent (n = 15) thought they were likely to get an infection from a splash, and 55% (n = 18) of clinicians had experienced a splash injury. Of the minor procedures during which splash injuries had occurred, repair of episiotomy 45.8% (n = 11) was the commonest.
This survey shows poor compliance with guidelines for Standard Precautions to protect from infection despite self‐reported rates of splash injury being high at 55%. Effective interventions are needed to increase compliance and prevent infection.