Study Reveals Predictors of Adherence to Safe Handling Practices for Antineoplastic Drugs
A new NIOSH study indicates that training, familiarity with safe handling guidelines, and availability of engineering controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) are predictors of better adherence to safe handling practices for antineoplastic drugs. These items are also associated with fewer reported spills of antineoplastic drugs. The study results are derived from the federally sponsored 2011 Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers, which addresses safety and health practices relative to the use of hazardous chemicals. NIOSH’s study specifically analyzed the survey responses of hospital nurses. Researchers found that nurses’ familiarity with safe handling guidelines and training in safe handling practices were associated with consistent use of more PPE items. Nurses who felt that they had adequate time to take appropriate safety precautions also reported fewer spills. “Commitment from all levels of healthcare organizations is essential to adequately protect workers from [antineoplastic drugs], many of which are recognized carcinogens with no safe level of exposure,” NIOSH’s press release reads. “Adherence to best practices for safe administration of [antineoplastic drugs] requires the efforts of employers and he​althcare workers.” The paper, which is scheduled to be published in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH), is already available online. To access the JOEH article online, AIHA members must first log in to the Member Center and click on the link to the Journal. Entering the article title, “Predictors of Adherence to Safe Handling Practices for Antineoplastic Drugs: A Survey of Hospital Nurses,” in the search field will bring up the paper.