Chemotherapeutic agents are known to be carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic to humans. Occupational exposure to chemotherapeutic agents is a potential risk. The aim of this study was to determine the safety measures on personal and environmental protection taken by nurses during chemotherapy preparation and administration. Current study was conducted between 1 April and 30 June 2007 in the chemotherapy administration units of all hospitals in Samsun, North of the Turkey. Seventy-three nurses were included in the study group. Data were obtained via questionnaire form. Findings for nurses' safety behaviour and usage of recommended health safety measures showed that, notwithstanding the rules and regulations pertaining to chemotherapeutics, nurses did not comply with them fully. The study expanded that health providers and clinical environment are under threat for contamination of chemotherapeutics. The results clearly point the importance of need for regular education programme. This study also revealed the necessity for improvement of the working environment. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.