Workplace hazards in the pharmaceutical industry

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2016 | Workplace Accidents

In New Jersey, there are many prominent industries that help to support the state’s economy and make it a great place to live and work. Each represents a different landscape for its employees, and all are regulated by federal standards that ensure workplace safety. According to Choose: New Jersey, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the state’s top employers, and it continues to grow rapidly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration identifies the occupational hazards that pharmaceutical professionals face and provides guidelines to employers to prevent injuries and illnesses. In particular, people whose job duties involve compounding medications may be exposed to dangerous levels of toxic substances. Some examples of high risk compounds include hormone medications, some antibiotics and cancer drugs.

When these substances are in the form of a gel, liquid or cream, a preparer may be exposed to absorption through the skin if the proper safety protocols are not in place. Medications may also be inhaled when they are being encapsulated, manually processed or when they must be granulated, sifted or filtered. Contamination of surrounding work spaces may occur when a worker does not take precautions while handling the drug compounds. Family members may even be at risk if an employee’s clothing is contaminated.

Employees who work in pharmacies or hospitals are most likely to come into contact with potent compounds that may create significant exposure risks. Employers in these settings are responsible to prevent or reduce hazards by training employees in safe operating procedures, providing personal protective equipment, and administrative and engineering controls.