Green Buckeye RN


OSHA QuickTakes: Precautions For Handling Hazardous Drugs Highlighted By OSHA, NIOSH and The Joint Commission
April 26, 2011, 10:32 am
Filed under: News

OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and The Joint Commission sent a letter* to U.S. hospitals highlighting the need for safe practices in handling hazardous drugs that can pose serious job-related health risks to workers. Drugs used for chemotherapy (such as antineoplastic drugs), antiviral treatments, hormone regimens, and other applications have potential for serious adverse occupational health effects, the agencies said. Irreversible effects from work-related exposures even at low levels, without taking appropriate precautions, can include cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, allergic reactions and others.
“Substances that present a potential health hazard to workers must be included in an employer’s hazard communication program, and it should be readily available and accessible to all, including temporary workers, contractors, and trainees,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels in a news release issued by the agencies. “We encourage employers to address safe drug handling by committing their management staff to taking a leadership role in identifying and remediating hazards, offering employee training, and evaluating workplace injury and illness prevention programs for continuous improvement.”

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