WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and Implementation Manual 2009 Edition


WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and Implementation Manual 2009 Edition


The World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist reinforces accepted safety practices and fosters better communication and teamwork between clinical disciplines. The checklist is not a regulatory device or a component of official policy; it is intended as a tool for use by clinicians interested in improving the safety of their operations and reducing unnecessary surgical deaths and complications. These safety checks can be performed in any operating room. The checklist includes actions the surgical team must take during the following stages of a surgery:

  • Before induction of anesthesia
  • Before skin incision
  • Before patient leaves the operating room

The manual provides suggestions for implementing the checklist, understanding that different practice settings will adapt it to their own circumstances. The implementation manual helps ensure that surgical teams are able to implement the checklist consistently. By following a few critical steps, health care professionals can minimize the most common and avoidable risks endangering the lives and well-being of surgical patients.

The 2009 edition also includes:

  • French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese translations of the checklist and manual
  • WHO Guidelines for Safe Surgery 2009
  • Results from the New England Journal of Medicine pilot study
  • Checklist reproduction and adaptation guide
  • Locally adapted checklists
  • Does my checklist meet the goals of the WHO’s checklist?
  • Instructional videos
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Starter kit
  • Speakers’ kit
  • Other materials


World Health Organization

Funding Sources:

World Health Organization


Release Date: 2008
Review Date: 2009
Recent Summary: January 2011
Original Summary: March 2009
Last Updated: 02/02/11

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