Safety analysis of occupational exposure of healthcare workers to residual contaminations of cytotoxic drugs using FMECA security approach

Handling cytotoxic drugs is associated with chemical contamination of workplace surfaces. The potential mutagenic, teratogenic and oncogenic properties of those drugs create a risk of occupational exposure for healthcare workers, from reception of starting materials to the preparation and administration of cytotoxic therapies. The Security Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) was used as a proactive method to assess the risks involved in the chemotherapy compounding process. FMECA was carried out by a multidisciplinary team from 2011 to 2016. Potential failure modes of the process were identified based on the Risk Priority Number (RPN) that prioritises corrective actions. Twenty-five potential failure modes were identified. Based on RPN results, the corrective actions plan was revised annually to reduce the risk of exposure and improve practices. Since 2011, 16 specific measures were implemented successively. In six years, a cumulative RPN reduction of 626 was observed, with a decrease from 912 to 286 (-69%) despite an increase of cytotoxic compounding activity of around 23.2%. In order to anticipate and prevent occupational exposure, FMECA is a valuable tool to identify, prioritise and eliminate potential failure modes for operators involved in the cytotoxic drug preparation process before the failures occur.

Authors: Le LMM, Reitter D, He S, Bonle FT, Launois A, Martinez D, Prognon P, Caudron E. ;Full Source: Science of the Total Environment. 2017 May 22;599-600:1939-1944. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.066. [Epub ahead of print] ;