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Washington Hazardous Drugs Rule

Washington Hazardous Drugs Rule

On January 1, 2015 new hazardous drugs regulations, WAC 296-62-500, et seq. went into effect for all health care settings in Washington. The rule details the requirements for safe handling of chemotherapy and other hazardous drugs, regardless of health care setting.  The definition for “health care setting” includes nursing homes and is arguably applicable to assisted living centers, as well. (See WAC 296-62-50010.)

By January 1, 2015, health care settings must develop and implement a written hazardous drugs control program; employee training must be provided by July 1, 2015.

The rules resulted from 2011 legislation that required the Department of Labor and Industries to adopt rules consistent with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) 2004 Alert on preventing occupational exposure to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs as updated in 2010.

Washington Health Care Association worked in partnership with ErnWest, Consonus, and Lincoln Pharmacy to develop a sample program for use by skilled nursing and assisted living centers. The sample program includes an inventory of the most common medications on the NIOSH list used in LTC.  Additionally, the WHCA program provides recommendations regarding the use of personal protective equipment. The recommendations are based on the formulation of the drug in question, and categorizes the hazardous drugs into low, medium, and high risk.

Here are some recommendations for understanding your responsibility as an employer:

  1. Review the Hazardous Drugs Rule or this WHCA issues brief to ensure you understand the new regulation.
  2. Review WHCA’s Hazardous Drugs Plan. (Please note – the WHCA plan  is intended to provide general guidance only.)
    1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements (Updated 3/9/2015)
    2. Tips on Complying with the L & I Hazardous Drugs Rule
  3. Consult with your pharmacy to partner on developing protocols for notification regarding drugs on the NIOSH hazardous drug list.
  4. Identify areas for staff development and training.

Check back here for an encore training webinar (slides) on implementation of the new standard.

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