Washington Department of Labor Adopts Hazardous Drugs Rule

The rule provides minimum requirements for developing a hazardous drugs control program. Employers, using a hazard assessment, will put programs in place to minimize or eliminate the hazardous exposures to their employees.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has adopted a new Hazardous Drugs rule, designed to protect health care workers from exposure to chemotherapy drugs and other hazardous drugs.

The rule was adopted Jan. 3 in response to a bill passed by the 2011 state Legislature that required L&I to enact protections consistent with, but not exceeding, recommendations in the 2004 report by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and a 2010 update of that report.

The rule will take effect in phases beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

The Hazardous Drugs rule will apply to all health care settings where workers are exposed to hazardous drugs, some of them known to cause cancer and other irreversible harmful effects among health care workers, even after low-level exposures. Click here to read NIOSH’s hazardous drug assessment and list of current drugs considered hazardous.

For the purpose of this rule, health care facilities are defined as places where a health care provider provides health care to patients.

The rule provides minimum requirements for developing a hazardous drugs control program. Employers, using a hazard assessment, will put programs in place to minimize or eliminate the hazardous exposures to their employees.

A meeting to discuss the formation of a Hazardous Drugs Advisory Committee and model programs to assist employers as they implement the rule is open to all interested parties and will be held on Jan. 25 at L&I's Tumwater building.

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