Biological Hazards

Biological hazards are organic substances or micro-organisms that pose a threat to the health of humans and other living organisms.  They also include toxins that are produced by organisms.

Examples of biological hazards include:

•  Pathogenic bacteria.

•  Viruses.

•  Fungi.

•  Parasites.

Biological hazards can pose risks for workers in a variety of ways.  People working with micro-organisms (for example, in laboratories) are at a higher risk of exposure.

Other examples of work activities that can bring people into contact with biological hazards are:

•  Working with animals.

•  Working with people who might be infectious.

•  Handling waste materials.

•  Working in an environment or with equipment that could be contaminated.

Examples of common occupational infections that can arise from these activities include:

•  Anthrax (natural host – farm animals).

•  Hepatitis B and C (natural host – humans).

•  Leptospirosis – weil’s disease (natural host – rodents).