Washington rule protects health care workers from chemo drug exposure
The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries has adopted language to require certain employers to develop hazardous drugs control programs.
The rule was adopted in response to legislation passed last year that required the department to enact protections consistent with, but not exceeding, recommendations in a 2004 report by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and a 2010 update of the report.
The hazardous drugs rule officially requires affected employers to have a written hazardous drug control program in place by January 2014. The elements of the program may be located in other documents, such as the employer's accident prevention program or other policies and procedures, as long as they are referenced in the program.
Among the elements that must be included in the written program are:
- A written inventory of hazardous drugs in the workplace.
- A current hazard assessment for hazardous drugs for which there is reasonably anticipated occupational exposure.
- Hazardous drugs policies and procedures, including engineering controls, personal protective equipment, safe handling practices, cleaning, spill control, and training.
Health care workers protected under the rule include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, physicians and physician assistants, nurses, patient care assistive personnel, operating room personnel, home health care workers, veterinarians and vet technicians, environmental services employees in health care facilities, and employees in health care facilities who ship or receive hazardous drugs from the manufacturer or distributor.
By July 2014, employers must have implemented employee training and by January 2015 they must have completed the installation of appropriate ventilation cabinets.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
February 22, 2012
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