Pharmacy Tech Classroom Presentation: <800> NIOSH Guidelines
By Dave Oldenhage, BS, CPhT, CHEP
February 9, 2021
"Growing evidence highlights that acute and chronic health effects can occur due to occupational exposure to over 200 hazardous drugs used commonly in healthcare settings. As per Pharmacy Times magazine (c Aug 2019), an estimated 8 million US healthcare workers are exposed to hazardous drugs in the workplace each year. Health care workers who work with or near hazardous drugs may suffer from skin rashes, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, leukemia, or other cancers.
OSHA has no role in enforcement of USP <800> standards. In many states that have adopted USP <800> standards, the state board of pharmacy (SBOP) is responsible for inspecting workplaces and issuing citations for non-compliance. In others, the state’s public health department is responsible for enforcement.
USP <800> requires covered workplaces to maintain an internal list of hazardous drugs (HDs) used in their facilities and review that list at least every 12 months. Whenever a new HD or dosage form is introduced in the workplace, it should be reviewed against your internal list using the NIOSH list criteria. If the information available on a drug is not sufficient to decide as to whether it is considered an HD, consider the drug hazardous until more information becomes available and add it to your internal list. Compliance with this aspect of USP <800> relies almost entirely on maintaining a full and accurate inventory of the HDs used in your facility and being able to update that inventory quickly as new HDs or dosage forms enter your workplace.
Environment: Evaluate the workplace to identify and assess hazards before anyone begins work with hazardous drugs. Regularly review the current inventory of hazardous drugs, equipment, and practices. Taking part in procedures and training for handling hazardous drugs safely, cleaning up spills, and using all equipment and PPE properly. Use a ventilated cabinet. Practice proper technique and use of equipment. Wear protective gloves and gowns if you are involved in preparation activities such as opening drug packaging, handling vials or finished products, labeling hazardous drug containers, or disposing of waste."
Katelyn’s presentation was a direct hit!! Having an open discussion following her presentation, I added that while on site, you will be doing physical inventory and checking expiration dates on all medications. While doing this, you should wear disposable gloves and to read each BOX or BOTTLE prior to handling. Its OK to touch the box or bottle, but to physically count or pour from that bottle, you should follow <800> guidelines that each ambulatory (retail) and institutional (hospital) will have in place for you to follow-so pay careful attention to what is being outlined!!!