Hazardous Drugs Regulations

Hazardous drugs requirements begin taking effect January 1, 2015.

The rule takes effect in stages:

  • Jan. 1, 2015 — Employers must have completed and implemented a written hazardous drugs control program.
  • July 1, 2015 — Employers must have implemented employee training.
  • Jan. 1, 2016 — Installation of appropriate ventilated cabinets must be completed.

The regulations were adopted to protect workers who handle chemotherapy and other hazardous drugs. Under this rule, if there is a reasonably anticipated occupational exposure to one or more hazardous drugs, then the employer must develop and implement a written hazardous drug control program to protect workers.

Written Hazardous Drug Control Program

The written hazardous drugs control program must be created with input from workers and address the following elements as applicable to the facility:

  • A written inventory of hazardous drugs in the workplace.
  • A current hazard assessment for the hazardous drugs.
  • Hazardous drugs policies and procedures that cover, but are not limited to:
    • Engineering controls (equipment use and maintenance)
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Safe handling practices
    • Cleaning, housekeeping, and waste handling
    • Spill control
    • Personnel issues (such as exposure of pregnant workers)
    • Training

Sample Program Available for Vet Practices

The WA Dept. of Labor and Industries has developed a sample program to provide veterinary employers with an easy-to-use format for developing a comprehensive Hazardous Drug Control Program (HDCP). Veterinary practices can customize the guides for their specific use, work tasks, and workplace. These guides are not regulations and do not create any new legal obligations. They contain advisory and informational content intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. Download the Sample Veterinary Hazardous Drugs Program here.

What Drugs Are Included?

A hazardous drug is any drug identified as hazardous by NIOSH in the “NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings 2014” and any other drugs identified by the employer that:

  • Can cause cancer.
  • Can cause birth defects or prevent reproduction.
  • Causes reproductive toxicity in humans.
  • Causes organ toxicity at low doses in humans or animals.
  • Can damage the DNA structure.
  • Mimics existing hazardous drugs in structure and toxicity.

The NIOSH hazardous drug list includes chemotherapy drugs, but also drugs such as hormones. Since some drugs cause less risk than others, L&I has approved a tiered approach that effectively matches precautions to the nature of exposure.


Occupational hazards: Protect yourself and your staff when handling hazardous drugs – AVMA provides clarification on the new hazardous drug standards that will be implemented in July 2018 and will affect veterinary practices

Sample Veterinary Hazardous Drugs Program – Customizable guide developed by the WA Dept. of Labor & Industries

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Hazardous Drugs Webpage – contains information on rule passage and links to resources

Hazardous Drugs Rules and Requirements – WA Dept. of Labor & Industries

Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs Video Training Program – Reserve the video from the WA Dept. of Labor & Industries

New rule as adopted by the WA State Department of Labor & Industries – contains the complete regulations

NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings 2014 – The complete list of hazardous drugs by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs for Veterinary Healthcare Workers – Information for veterinary practices on the safe handling of hazardous drugs

Washington State Hazardous Drug Regulations: How They May Impact Your Practice and Clinic – presentation at the WSVMA Annual Conference 2012 by Lisa Parshley, DVM, DACVIM

Questions and Answers about the new Hazardous Drug Rule – WA State Department of Labor & Industries website

Subscribe to the LNI-HAZ-DRUGS-RULE-INFO List – Sign up with WA State Department of Labor & Industries to receive further information, sample programs and educational and outreach materials