Hazardous drug (HD) use in the perioperative environment poses unique challenges and risks for exposure that can have adverse consequences for perioperative personnel. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention has implemented new standards to address the safe handling and administration of HDs by health care workers. To comply with these standards and minimize perioperative personnel’s occupational exposure to HDs, a multidisciplinary team at an academic medical center in Boston that was performing an increased number and variety of operative and other invasive procedures using antineoplastic agents updated their protocol for the safe use of HDs in the OR. This article discusses HDs and the risks they pose to health care workers and outlines the new HD safety protocol for the OR that was part of a performance improvement plan to ensure compliance with new standards and staff member safety in the perioperative setting.
Key words: hazardous drug (HD), antineoplastic, medication, exposure, personal protective equipment (PPE).