Washington Passes Bill Regulating Handling of Hazardous Drugs

Without precautions being taken, such as proper ventilation or protective equipment, the preparation, administration, and the disposal of these drugs exposes hundreds of thousands of workers to potentially harmful levels of the chemicals involved.

One of the long-standing ironies in the health industry has been that the chemotherapy drugs that cancer patients and others depend upon for treatment can harm the medical providers caring for them.

On April 14, Washington became the first state in the U.S. to require protection for health care workers when Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Senate Bill 5594, a bill that directs the Department of Labor & Industries to adopt requirements for the handling of chemotherapy and other hazardous drugs.

"There is strong and convincing evidence that these drugs pose a significant risk to health care workers," said Dr. Michael Silverstein, assistant director for L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health. "This legislation ensures workers who provide lifesaving treatment for others aren't placed at risk themselves."

Much of the credit for the new protections is due to state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who recognized the hazard workers face in providing chemotherapy treatment and, in championing this bill, found a way to address the problem.

The same properties that enable chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells can also damage normal cells in healthy workers. Without precautions being taken, such as proper ventilation or protective equipment, the preparation, administration, and the disposal of these drugs exposes hundreds of thousands of workers to potentially harmful levels of the chemicals involved.

Some of these drugs have been known to cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, allergic reactions, and other harmful effects that can be irreversible even after low-level exposures. Both OSHA and NIOSH suggest precautions when handling these hazardous drugs.

The bill requires L&I to adopt rules consistent with NIOSH provisions adopted in its 2004 alert on preventing exposures to these drugs, and the 2010 update of that same alert.

L&I is in the process of establishing a stakeholder group and develop this rule.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together this page with critical information to help answer your key questions about OSHA recordkeeping.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We put together a guide that’s easy to digest so you can ensure you're complying with OSHA's training standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus