Green Buckeye RN

Science Washington State Adopts Rule To Protect Healthcare Workers From Hazardous Medications
January 17, 2012, 2:57 pm
Filed under: News

Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:00 PM, by Celeste Monforton

Washington State becomes the first in the nation to adopt specific workplace safety rules to protect healthcare workers who are potentially exposed to anti-neoplastic drugs and other hazardous medications. The new rule, issued earlier this month by the State’s Department of Labor & Industries, stems from legislation passed in April 2011 and signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire. The rule applies to healthcare facilities in which employees are “reasonably anticipated” to have “occupational exposure to one or more hazardous drugs.” The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a list of about 150 agents that meet their hazardous drug definition. This list, which is referenced in the new Washington State rule, includes well-known chemotherapeutic drugs such as cisplatin, fluorouracil (5FU), methotrexate, etoposide, temozolomide, and dacarbazine. NIOSH estimates that about 5.5 million healthcare workers—-from nurses and pharmacists to housekeepers and veterninary care staff—are potentially exposed to these hazardous agents.

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