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NIOSH Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers: Training and awareness of employer safety procedures

Authors

  • Andrea L. Steege PhD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Surveillance Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Correspondence to: Andrea Steege, Ph.D., MPH, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS R-18, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998. E-mail: asteege@cdc.gov

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  • James M. Boiano MS, CIH,

    1. Surveillance Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Marie H. Sweeney PhD, MPH

    1. Surveillance Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.
  • Institution at which the work was performed: Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Mention of company names or products does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Abstract

Background

The Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers describes current practices used to minimize chemical exposures and barriers to using recommended personal protective equipment for the following: antineoplastic drugs, anesthetic gases, high level disinfectants, surgical smoke, aerosolized medications (pentamidine, ribavirin, and antibiotics), and chemical sterilants.

Methods

Twenty-one healthcare professional practice organizations collaborated with NIOSH to develop and implement the web-based survey.

Results

Twelve thousand twenty-eight respondents included professional, technical, and support occupations which routinely come in contact with the targeted hazardous chemicals. Chemical-specific safe handling training was lowest for aerosolized antibiotics (52%, n = 316), and surgical smoke (57%, n = 4,747). Reported employer procedures for minimizing exposure was lowest for surgical smoke (32%, n = 4,746) and anesthetic gases (56%, n = 3,604).

Conclusions

Training and having procedures in place to minimize exposure to these chemicals is one indication of employer and worker safety awareness. Safe handling practices for use of these chemicals will be reported in subsequent papers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:640–652, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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