Some of the drugs that are known to save lives, such as the medications used for chemotherapy, are known to cause health problems for healthcare workers who are exposed to these medications. When handling hazardous drugs, it is important to follow a specific protocol to ensure the safety of those involved in transporting or administering the medications. Here are three tips you need to follow to encourage the safe handling of hazardous drugs. 

1. Utilize Closed System Drug Transfer Devices (CTSDs)

CTSDs are contraptions that prevent any portion of the medication from escaping into the surrounding environment. This includes liquids, solids, and possible vapors emitted by the hazardous drugs. These containers should be air-tight and leak-proof to ensure the contents are properly contained. Some also use air-cleansing technology to prevent contaminants from escaping.

It is essential to choose the proper CTSD closed system for the medication that you are transporting or working with. For example, if the medication is in syringes already outfitted with needles, you need to opt for a CTSD suitable for needles. 

2. Use Safety Needles or Needleless Administration Systems

One possible source of exposure for healthcare workers is accidental needle sticks. These accidental sticks typically occur when a healthcare worker is administering medication. You can take steps to prevent these needle sticks from occurring by encouraging workers to utilize safety needles or needleless administration systems.

Needleless administration systems incorporate some type of sheath or protective covering into the design to keep the needle covered at all times. These systems are typically used with IVs. Safety needles are needles that require the activation of a safety mechanism before they will activate. This means that if a healthcare worker is giving an injection, the needle will not be exposed until the worker takes the necessary steps to trigger it.

3. Require Workers to Wear Protective Equipment When Working With Hazardous Medications

Workers should also wear the proper personal protective equipment when they are handling dangerous prescription drugs. Some of the items that workers may want to wear are disposable gowns, face protection, and gloves that are an adequate thickness. These items will help protect workers in the event of an exposure.

Your work area should also have the necessary equipment on-site to handle a spill. For example, a respirator is an essential piece of equipment for employees who have to clean up a spill of hazardous medication. Spill pads are another item that you should keep nearby to minimize the effects of a spill.