ASCO, the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA), and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) issued a joint position statement on improving the safety of health-care workers who handle dangerous drugs and other hazardous materials across various health-care settings.
The statement offers seven recommendations for organizations in which hazardous drugs are present. The recommendations include establishing evidence-based policies and procedures for safe handling of these drugs that comply with regulatory requirements, such as providing and maintaining engineering controls and appropriate personal protective equipment to reduce worker exposure to hazardous drugs; disposing of hazardous drug waste according to regulatory guidelines and in a manner that protects staff and the environment; and protecting the right of staff who are trying to conceive or who are pregnant or nursing to engage in alternative duties that do not require hazardous drug handling.
Furthermore, the statement recommends that organizations provide education and training about safe handling to staff members who could potentially be exposed to hazardous drugs that are specific to each worker’s role. This education should extend to patients who receive these drugs, as well as their caregivers, to minimize unintended exposure. Lastly, the position statement suggests that professional societies continue to explore evidence-based strategies for mitigation of risk associated with handling hazardous drugs and share findings with their respective members.
To read the joint position statement, please go to http://www.asco.org/sites/www.asco.org/files/safe_handling_final_022015.pdf. ■
© 2015. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.