NIOSH health and safety practices survey of healthcare workers: training and awareness of employer safety procedures

Am J Ind Med. 2014 Jun;57(6):640-52. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22305. Epub 2014 Feb 18.


Background: The Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers describes current practices used to minimize chemical exposures and barriers to using recommended personal protective equipment for the following: antineoplastic drugs, anesthetic gases, high level disinfectants, surgical smoke, aerosolized medications (pentamidine, ribavirin, and antibiotics), and chemical sterilants.

Methods: Twenty-one healthcare professional practice organizations collaborated with NIOSH to develop and implement the web-based survey.

Results: Twelve thousand twenty-eight respondents included professional, technical, and support occupations which routinely come in contact with the targeted hazardous chemicals. Chemical-specific safe handling training was lowest for aerosolized antibiotics (52%, n = 316), and surgical smoke (57%, n = 4,747). Reported employer procedures for minimizing exposure was lowest for surgical smoke (32%, n = 4,746) and anesthetic gases (56%, n = 3,604).

Conclusions: Training and having procedures in place to minimize exposure to these chemicals is one indication of employer and worker safety awareness. Safe handling practices for use of these chemicals will be reported in subsequent papers.

Keywords: cognitive testing; employer safe handling procedures; healthcare worker; professional practice organization; self-report; training; web-based survey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Data Collection
  • Disinfectants
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Safety*
  • Smoke
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Disinfectants
  • Smoke