Health, Safety Practices in Healthcare Are Focus of New NIOSH Webpage
NIOSH published a new workplace health and safety topic page that collects information related to a survey of the health and safety practices of healthcare workers that the agency conducted in 2011. The federally sponsored survey is the largest to address safety and health practices relative to the use of hazardous chemicals typically found in healthcare settings. Information on the use of best practices to minimize exposure to chemical hazards in healthcare was limited at the time, so NIOSH sought to better understand the circumstances in which healthcare workers may be exposed to hazardous chemicals, gauge how well best practices were being used to minimize exposure, and evaluate barriers to using PPE and other exposure controls. In general, the survey showed that employers and employees alike did not universally follow best practices to minimize exposures. NIOSH researchers published multiple papers related to the survey in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH), including studies on the safe handling and compounding of aerosolized medications, anesthetic gases, antineoplastic drugs, chemical sterilants, high-level disinfectants, and surgical smoke among providers of anesthesia care.