Human Resources

Biological hazards

Exposure to  micro-organisms can cause infection.  Infections can include bacteria and viruses which can be found within human, animal and environmental sources.   

Some micro-organisms produce toxins and allergens which can cause disease.  Exposure to harmful micro-organisms at work can lead to infection.  Infection can be transmitted directly, by exposure to the toxins it produces or as a consequence of an allergic reaction to it.  Most micro-organisms are very useful in the natural world and can be used for medicinal purposes.  

Anyone can be exposed to infection.  Flu is a highly contagious biological infection transmitted through droplets casued by sneezing or coughing.  These droplets can remain on hard surfaces for several hours ready to be picked up by the next person touching it. This type of transmission means that it can spread through the working population very quickly.  

Some workers will be at higher risk of infection due to their jobs, or tasks which they regularly undertake:

  • Laboratory microbiologists

  • Food handlers

  • Landscape groundsmen

Infections can include 

  • Blood borne - Hepatitis B and C, HIV

  • Salmonella 

  • Legionella