Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Discuss Safe Handling for Antineoplastic Drugs

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released an article recently that examined what factors make hospital nurses more likely to adhere to recommended safe handling practices when it comes to administering antineoplastic drugs (ADs). Antineoplastic drugs act to prevent or halt the creation of tumors. According to the nurse responses, the things that resulted in improved safe handling practices and fewer spills included familiarity with safe handling guidelines and the availability of engineering control and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The results of the survey come from the 2011 Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers, which is a federally sponsored survey of U.S. healthcare workers that come in contact with hazardous chemicals. Earlier reports showed that safe handling guidelines were not always followed when it came to handling ADs. However, the recent data looks at the link between administrative and engineering controls, work practices, nurse perceptions and nurse and hospital characteristics, as well as the following outcomes reported by nurses: use of personal protective equipment (PPE), activities performed while wearing gloves previously used to administer ADs and spills of ADs.

Key Results from the Study

  • Nurses reported that a greater knowledge of safe handing guidelines and training in safe handing practices went hand in hand with a consistent use of PPEs.
  • Availability of PPE led to greater PPE use and fewer spills of ADs.
  • Closed system drug transfer devices and luer-lock fittings lead to fewer spills.
  • Nurses felt that they had enough time to take appropriate safety precautions reported fewer spills.
  • Nurses who administered ADs more often reported more frequent spills and reported they performed more activities that could expose them to environmental contamination, including touching bed controls and door knobs, and using phones while wearing gloves that had been used to administer ADs.

In order to adequately protect workers from ADs, a high level of commitment from every level of a healthcare organization is critical, considering many of the ADs that nurses come in contact with are known carcinogens with no known safe level of exposure. Employer and healthcare workers alike must adhere to the most current best practices in order to maintain a high level of workplace safety.

The results of of this study will help provide the NIOSH, partners, employers and healthcare workers with a range of ideas on how to better understand current health and safety practices and how adherence to improved guidelines can be accomplished.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Injured Healthcare Workers

 If you have been exposed to toxic chemicals while working in a hospital resulting in illness or injuries, contact our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton so that we can fight on your behalf to secure the financial compensation you deserve. Call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.