Several products and even some drugs used in veterinary medicine are regulated as hazardous substances, and employers are legally obligated to have safeguards in place to help protect their employees from such workplace hazards. Employee training, immediate access to SDSs, a written Hazard Communication Plan (HCP), and a list of hazardous substances in the workplace are a few of the key components in every practice’s Hazard Communication. The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the AVMA have resources that can help your practice with its responsibilities regarding hazardous pharmaceutical, including proper waste disposal as well as the development, implementation, and maintenance of your written HCP.
The CDC NIOSH Alert, Preventing Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings provides excellent recommendations on safety measures for storage, handling, clean-up, and disposal of hazardous drugs. In addition, the NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings 2012 discusses how to determine if a drug is a hazardous material, can help you generate your clinics own list of hazardous drugs, and provides a sample list of hazardous pharmaceuticals. Are you just searching for a brief synopsis for yourself or your employees? If so, check out the useful overview, Workplace Solutions: Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs of Veterinary Healthcare Workers, which was also developed by the NIOSH.
The AVMA members-only page on Workplace Hazard Communications summarizes what’s required of veterinary practices and provides a collection of resources that your practice can use to help make sure its HCP is current. In addition, the AVMA’s disposal microsite (www.avma.org/wastedisposal) contains a members-only resource on Drug and Chemical Disposal, which is just one of the many topics discussed in the microsite.