The state’s labor commissioner would be required to write rules regulating the handling of hazardous drugs used in chemotherapy, under a bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday.
The legislation is aimed at protecting those who work in health-care settings and handle those drugs, as well as toxic drugs used in other kinds of treatment.
Earlier in the day, a Senate committee approved the legislation, House Bill 644, over the objection of the Republican labor commissioner, Cherie Berry. A representative of the commissioner said Berry considers it excessive regulation that requires her department to adopt rules that aren’t necessary and that would be duplicative.
The rules would have to be consistent with, but not more restrictive than, the most recent recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Rep. Tom Murry, a Cary Republican, told the committee that the bill would ensure the proper rules are developed for North Carolina, in consultation with a range of interest groups.
Under current law, the labor commissioner’s staff can inspect and investigate violations of a state occupational safety law, and can issue citations and civil penalties ranging from $5,000 to $70,000.
The bill returns to the House for concurrence on changes the Senate made.