Healthcare Worker Training and Hazardous Chemicals

Healthcare Worker Training and Hazardous Chemicals

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recently published some interesting survey results about healthcare workers and their interaction with hazardous chemicals.

According to their article in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, “healthcare workers who routinely come in contact with hazardous chemicals on the job lack training and awareness of employer procedures to adequately protect themselves from exposure.”

The 2011 survey had over 12,000 participants, all of whom were healthcare workers who routinely come in contact with hazardous chemicals. The researchers wanted to get a handle on issues such as training, best practices to minimize exposure, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Chemical agents of concern were antineoplastic agents, high level disinfectants, aerosolized medications, anesthetic gases, surgical smoke and chemical sterilants.

Study findings include:

NIOSH wants to use these findings and others in future surveys in this ongoing project to help better prepare these important caregivers to keep themselves safe on the job.

Whether you are in the healthcare field or a different business sector, if you have hazardous chemicals in your workplace, you’ll need to know about OSHA’s Global Harmonized System (GHS), the new system for labeling and classifying chemicals. New safety data sheets and training are required to keep businesses in compliance. The first training deadline was December 1, 2013.

You can read more about GHS on our blog and learn how HSI can help you with training on this new system.

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