Quality & Patient Safety

USP <800>: Protecting healthcare workers from hazardous drugs

Patient Safety Monitor, January 11, 2017

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According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 8 million American healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs each year. And in May, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report critical of CMS surveyors’ oversight of hospitals’ use of compounded, sterile drugs. The report recommended that surveyors receive proper training on safe compounding practices.

While there have been numerous guidelines and recommendations on how to safely handle, transport, and dispose of potentially harmful chemicals and drugs, none of them have been enforceable. That was until the U.S Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) published its newest chapter on February 1, 2016. With USP General Chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs; Handling in Healthcare Settings, the organization hopes to promote worker safety, patient safety, and environmental protection using evidence-based practices and quality standards.

Chapter <800> covers from the moment a hazardous drug is received at the loading dock all the way through to the medicine’s disposal. Its standards apply to anyone who comes into contact with hazardous drugs: nurses, physicians, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, loading dock personnel, etc.

And on July 1, 2018 the chapter will become fully enforceable by regulators. With 18 months (as of January) until the chapter goes into effect, what do healthcare facilities need to know about USP <800>? 

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Patient Safety Monitor.

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