Today’s post comes from respected colleague Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. Who looks out for the healthcare workers who work round-the-clock, through weekends and holidays to care for injured workers and the general population? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is one of the groups on the federal level that does so and has a lot of good resources to explore for improved workplace safety. Working with hazardous drugs is just one of the many dangers that healthcare workers face. Other dangers include the challenges of working long hours, sleeping problems due to rotating shifts, lifting patients, working with unpredictable patients, whether human or animal, and safely cleaning up after everything. Thanks to those who are “just doing their job” in this environment!
The most hazardous jobs in the healthcare industry are those whose workers deal with handling hazardous drugs or disposing of hazardous biological waste.
The National Institute For Occupational Safety And Health (NIOSH) has revised and republished informational material concerning the health hazards to healthcare workers were exposed to hazardous drugs. The publication directs attention for the medical surveillance of healthcare workers who come in contact with hazardous drugs or dispose of hazardous biological waste.
Healthcare workers who prepare, administer or transport hazardous drugs or dispose of hazardous drug waste may face risks to their own health such as skin disorders, reproductive disorders, and possibly cancer.
1. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
2. Nurses (RNs, ARNPs, LPNs)
3. Physicians and physician assistants
4. Operating room personnel
5. Home healthcare workers
6. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians
7. Environmental service workers (housekeeping, laundry, maintenance workers)
8. Workers who ship, transport, or receive hazardous drugs
The information provided by NIOSH is useful to identify and correct preventable failures that lead to disease. Early identification of health problems can also benefit individual workers.