Infection Control & First Aid Blog

How To Properly Handle A Chemotherapy Spill

[fa icon="calendar"] 7/24/19 10:30 AM / by Safetec

Many healthcare facilities, especially hospitals, will eventually experience a spill of some chemotherapy drug at that facility. Healthcare facilities are required to have chemotherapy spill kits in case of any chemotherapy drugs that spill. Chemotherapy drugs are considered any agent or drug, excluding hormonal agents, that are intended to kill malignancies. When these chemotherapy drugs spill, they can be very harmful to people as there is no chemotherapy drug which has any safe limit for drug exposure, except for patients receiving these as treatment, which still has harmful effects on the patient. These chemotherapy drugs can affect people in 4 different ways: inhalation, ingestion, injection, or absorption.

49725_Chemo_kit_lrChemotherapy spill kits are required to have many things in them to keep the person cleaning the spill safe as well as equipment to pick up the spill. Personal protective equipment (PPE) items in a spill kit are to protect the person cleaning the spill, such as two pairs of gloves, a gown, eye protection, a respirator, and shoe covers. Other equipment needed for the spill kit are spill towels, two chemo waste bags, a chemo spill sign, absorbent pads or spill solidifier, a scoop and scraper, and a spill report form.

To properly go about cleaning up the spill, it is critical that these steps are followed very carefully to stay safe and avoid any contact with the chemotherapy drugs. Be sure to remember to alert people in the area of the spill and put out the sign warning of a chemotherapy spill. The first pair of gloves should be put on first and then the gown followed by the second pair of gloves. The sleeves of the gown should be tucked in to be between the first and second pair of gloves. Then the protective eyeglasses or goggles and then followed by the respirator and shoe covers.

Once properly protected, use the absorbent pads or spill solidifier on the spilled drugs. Then use the scoop and scraper to pick up any glass that potentially broke as well as the solidified or absorbed chemotherapy drugs. Place this into one of the chemotherapy waste bags. Then use the spill towels, detergent, and water to clean up the residual chemotherapy drugs and place those into the same waste bag. Then remove the outer pair of gloves, respirator, safety glasses, shoe coverings, and gown and place all of that into the same waste bag. Then with only the inner pair of gloves remaining, close that waste bag and place it inside the other waste bag. Remove the second pair of gloves and place it inside the second waste bag and then seal and close that bag and properly dispose of the waste bag. Leave the caution sign in place until environmental services are able to clean the area further to ensure everyone's safety. 

Proper use of the PPE and following these steps carefully will help to keep you safe in case of any chemotherapy spill at the healthcare facility.

References: https://www.safety.duke.edu/environmental-programs/spill-response/instructions-cleaning-spills-liquid-hazardous-waste

Topics: Spill Kits, PPE, chemotherapy spill

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Written by Safetec