Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a prescription medication used to treat severe pain. Illicit fentanyl is manufactured and distributed through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect and is often mixed with other drugs. Workplaces that are open to the public may have surfaces with illicit fentanyl residue if people have used fentanyl there.

Overview

Workplaces that are open to the public may have surfaces with illicit fentanyl residue if people have used fentanyl there.

Some examples of workplaces that may have illicit fentanyl residue include:

  • Public bathrooms
  • Restaurants, convenience stores, or gas stations
  • Public libraries
  • Homeless shelters
  • Social service agencies
  • Public transit
  • Hotels and motels

Current available information shows that unless someone is intentionally using fentanyl, the likelihood of an overdose from exposure to residue left behind by other users is low. However, researchers are still studying the risks from exposure to illicit fentanyl residue. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is tracking this closely and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Requirements & Policies

Employers must take measures to prevent harmful health effects from exposure to fentanyl. If a workplace might have residue from illicit fentanyl use, employers must:

  • Address the hazard in the organization’s Accident Prevention Program (APP), including:
    • Procedures to prevent illicit drugs in the workplace
    • What employees should do if they find drugs or drug-related items, such as calling law enforcement and making sure items are not disturbed
    • Who is responsible for cleaning spaces that may be contaminated
    • Procedures for cleaning, if done in-house
  • Assess the hazard in the organization’s personal protective equipment (PPE) hazard assessment
    • Provide PPE, where applicable
  • Ensure training is provided to employees who may clean up illicit fentanyl residue, including knowing signs and symptoms of fentanyl intoxication
  • Ensure compliance with the Chemical Hazard Communication standard for any chemicals used during the cleanup of illicit fentanyl residue
  • Ensure compliance with the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, where syringes or needles are present

Laws and Rules

    Training & Resources

    Guidance from other agencies