Posted by Jonathan Johnson on 5/27/2012 to
The fact that Washington is the only state to protect it's health workers in this manner is a startling indication of the need for health care professionals - and their employers - to take measures to safeguard themselves from not only these medications, but all substances that could be potentially harmful.
Is your employer providing the proper personal protective equipment? Are your employees offered PPE kits that are convenient, cost-effective and also an effective safeguard?
Chemotherapeutic drugs are especially dangerous because the same properties that allow these medications to kill cancerous cells also have the potential to damage healthy human cells. The preparation, administration and disposal of these drugs offer a stark danger to all health workers that may come in contact with these medications.
While there may seem to be no explicit danger to health workers employed in environments that are not focused on cancer control, chemotherapy drugs are increasingly being utilized in less-conventional means. Patients with arthritis and muscular sclerosis are also sometimes treated with these medications, meaning the drugs now exist in a wider variety of facilities and even private physician offices. And the problem is not limited to human health-facilities or private homes. Veterinarians are increasingly using chemotherapy drugs to treat sick animals.
The Washington state workplace safety rule is designed to protect pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, physicians and physician assistants, nurses and patient care assistants, home health care workers, veterinarians and vet techs, housekeeping, laundry, and waste disposal staff in health care facilities, and employees in health care facilities who ship, or receive hazardous drugs from the manufacturer or distributor.
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