hazardous drug spill kit

Last updated on October 30, 2019

Beginning December 1, 2019, compounding pharmacies and other healthcare facilities that handle hazardous drugs (HD) must have USP <800> compliant spill kits on-site. This is an effort to protect workers in the event of accidental spills of HDs. The requirement is part of USP General Chapter 800, which “describes the practice and quality standards for handling hazardous drugs.”  Sharps Compliance is introducing the Hazardous Drug Spill Control Kit™ for the safe cleanup and disposal of spilled chemotherapy and other hazardous drugs.

What is the Purpose of USP <800>?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “about 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs” in the workplace. More than 12 billion doses of HDs are handled each year by US healthcare workers. All types of healthcare workers are at risk, from pharmacy personnel and nurses who handle the drugs directly to shipping and receiving personnel.

According to the CDC, accidental exposure to HDs can cause serious health problems:

Exposure to hazardous drugs can result in adverse health effects in healthcare workers. In fact, published studies have shown that workplace exposures to hazardous drugs can cause both acute and chronic health effects such as skin rashes, adverse reproductive outcomes (including infertility, spontaneous abortions, and congenital malformations), and possibly leukemia and other cancers. The health risk depends on how much exposure a worker has to these drugs and how toxic they are. Workers can be protected from exposures to hazardous drugs through engineering and administrative controls, and proper protective equipment.

The USP <800> standard is designed to add more protection for healthcare workers who handle or administer HDs. It applies to anyone involved in the storage, preparation, transport, or compounding of HDs because exposure can happen at any step of the process. Regulations also apply to those involved in medical surveillance, cleaning, spill control, disposal, documentation, and disinfection. These guidelines build on USP <797>, which focused on patient protection but lacked standards for the handling of HDs.

Who Needs a Spill Kit?

All healthcare personnel who handle hazardous drug preparations and all entities that store, prepare, transport, or administer hazardous drugs must be trained on spill management and have spill kits readily available.

All of the following facilities will be required to have a spill kit on hand in case of an HD spill:

  • Pharmacies
  • Hospitals
  • Oncologists
  • Outpatient infusion suites
  • Surgery centers who handle hazardous drugs
  • Veterinarian offices
  • Home infusion
  • Possibly home health
  • Distributors of hazardous drugs
  • Companies that transport hazardous drugs
  • Pharmacy delivery services who transport hazardous drugs from pharmacy to patient’s home
  • Any other entity that handles, ships, distributes, compounds, delivers, or administers hazardous drugs

What Do USP <800> Spill Kits Contain?

The USP <800> spill kit adds an extra layer of protection for healthcare workers who handle HDs. It provides the tools workers need to safely clean up a spill of toxic materials. The standard requires that any worker who may come into contact with an HD spill must receive proper training in spill management.

Additionally, USP <800> states:

“Qualified personnel must be available at all times while HDs are being handled. Signs must be available for restricting access to the spill area. Spill kits containing all of the materials needed to clean HD spills must be readily available in all areas where HDs are routinely handled. If HDs are being prepared or administered in a non-routine healthcare area, a spill kit and respirator must be available. All spill materials must be disposed of as hazardous waste.”

Sharps Compliance USP <800> Hazardous Drug Spill Control Kits are an all-in-one solution for small HD spill control. Our base-level kits contain the following items:

  • Absorbent powder
  • Absorbent pad
  • Chemosorb pad
  • Scraper/scooper
  • Antiseptic towel
  • Safety goggles
  • N95 respirator mask
  • Shoe covers
  • Hair and beard cover
  • Hazardous drug exposure form
  • Chemo-bio wipe
  • Yellow hazardous material bag
  • ChemoPlus gown
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • Hazardous waste summary sheet
  • Caution sign
  • Pail (optional)

After the kit is used to clean up a spill, customers can call Sharps Compliance to schedule a pickup of the used spill kit. Sharps Compliance has managed medical waste for 25 years. Our regulatory experts have decades of experience in the medical and hazardous waste environment and work each day to keep your employees, patients, and business safe and compliant.

Learn more about all aspects of USP <800>, sign up for updates, and download information at the official USP General Chapter 800 page.

Wanda Voigt holds a BA in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University and a BBA in Business Management from Texas A&M University. In Fall 2021, Wanda will begin her Master Jurisprudence in Health Law and Policy at Texas A&M University. Wanda has over 20 years of clinical practice in both hospital and private practice practicing in various specialties.

As the Director of Regulatory Compliance, Wanda assists Sharps’ customers in evaluating current federal and state-specific medical and pharmaceutical waste regulations, implementing compliant regulated medical and pharmaceutical waste management programs and processes, and developing training programs for both internal and external customers.

published in Hazardous Waste