- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

State considers law to protect workers from chemotherapy hazards

Washington state legislators will introduce a bill affording healthcare workers greater protection from chemotherapy hazards, reports The Seattle Times, January 16 [1].

The proposed bill would create an occupational-safety standard for oncology clinics and other settings where chemotherapy is delivered. A related bill would mandate that the state’s cancer registry captures occupational data from cancer patients, according to the Times.

The proposed legislation is in response to a report July 2010 by InvestigateWest on the continuing occupational risks to healthcare workers. [2]

“Chemotherapy drugs have been classified as hazardous by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) since the mid-1980s, yet we still do not have adequate workplace-safety protections in place for health-care workers who handle these powerful drugs on a daily basis,” Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles told the Times.

The need for occupational data in the state’s cancer registry is supported by two studies, according to the Times:

See the Hazard Communication heading on the Tools page for resources and checklists for hazardous drugs in healthcare settings [3].