There are patients at your facility needing medications that are potentially hazardous to the employees that handle, administer and dispose of them. As a result, your facility must design a safety program to instruct your employees on how to properly do these tasks without negatively affecting their own health. This program should meet the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard. Under this provision, your employees must have exposure to training, warning labels and access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
Specifically, the training should also include the following:
- Necessary procedures within a designated drug handling area where hazardous drugs (HDs) are present
- Instructions for the medical staff (nurses, doctors and pharmacists) and housekeeping and maintenance staff with specific guidelines respective to their roles in the handling process
- Specific guidelines for handling hazardous drugs for the first time
- The exact dangers associated with each drug
- Methods and observations needed to detect the release of hazardous drugs into the air and body
- Protections against exposure (clothing, handling procedures, work practices, emergency procedures)
- Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Full list of hazardous drugs administered in the facility
To attain more information concerning which medications are considered hazardous, visit the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at www.cdc.gov/niosh/.
Protect your employees by instilling a safety program designed specifically for hazardous drug handling. By ensuring your employees safety and health, you are reducing excessive workers’ compensation costs and low staffing; and therefore, benefiting the facility.