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New hazardous drug requirements come into effect December 1

Published on: November 14, 2023

Amendments to Part 6 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation come into effect on December 1, 2023. The amendments reflect the current use of hazardous drugs, and detail how employers can meet the requirement to eliminate or minimize worker exposure to hazardous drugs.

Hazardous drugs are specific drugs with the potential to harm workers who are exposed to them without appropriate protection. These types of drugs are often used to treat cancer and other conditions such as arthritis, skin psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis. Hazardous drugs are administered in health care settings, as well as in settings such as community or home care and veterinary practices.

The previous requirements for hazardous drugs (formerly called “cytotoxic drugs”) in the OHS Regulation were developed decades ago. Since then, the number and uses of hazardous drugs has increased.

Key provisions in the regulatory amendments

  • A new definition for “hazardous drug” is provided.
  • A qualified person must prepare the risk assessments, exposure control plans, and written work procedures.
  • A hierarchy must be followed to eliminate or control the risk of worker exposure.
  • A ventilated enclosure must be used for mixing, preparing, and priming specific hazardous drugs.
  • A risk assessment must be prepared, and exposure control plans must be developed, reviewed, and updated in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or worker health and safety representative.
  • Requirements around safe storage and transport of hazardous drugs are enhanced.

For more information, see Proposed Amendments for Part 6: Hazardous Drugs in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.