NIOSH Recommends PPE to Prevent Hazardous Drugs Exposure

In the United States, an estimated 8 million health care workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs or drug waste at their worksites, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Exposure may occur when a worker handles drug vials; compounds, administers, or disposes of hazardous drugs; cleans spills; or touches contaminated surfaces. Possible routes of exposure include inhalation, ingestion, (from hand to mouth), injection with a sharp, and transconjunctival or skin absorption.

In a new publication, NIOSH recommends that employers provide appropriate personal protective equipment to protect workers who handle hazardous drugs in the workplace. The prevention measures outlined by NIOSH consist of engineering and administrative controls; gloves; gowns; respiratory protection; eye and face protection; sleeve, hair, and shoe covers; and proper PPE disposal.

For detailed information on the prevention measures recommended by NIOSH, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2009-106/.

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