Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers

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About the study

Here you will learn more about the chemical agents we studied and why we did the survey.

The purpose

Because there is limited information on use of best practices to minimize exposure to chemical hazards in healthcare, NIOSH conducted the Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers. It is the largest federally-sponsored survey of healthcare workers that examines health and safety practices associated with hazardous chemicals that are typically found in healthcare settings.

Through the survey, we wanted to

  • Better understand the circumstances to which healthcare workers may be exposed to hazardous chemicals
  • Gauge how well best practices [i.e., engineering and administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE)] were being used to minimize exposure
  • Evaluate barriers to using PPE and other exposure controls

Chemical hazards in healthcare

The classes of chemicals targeted in our survey may pose health and safety risks to healthcare workers. They are commonly found in healthcare settings and include:

  • aerosolized medications
  • anesthetic gases
  • antineoplastic drugs
  • chemical sterilants
  • high level disinfectants
  • surgical smoke

Learn more about our findings and best practices for the safe handling of these chemicals.

Page last reviewed: March 14, 2017