Be familiar with 10 biological hazard examples and know the various types of biological hazards along with the biohazard safety levels. Learn how a powerful mobile inspection app can help in monitoring biohazards in the workplace.
Published 16 May 2023
Also known as a biohazard, a biological hazard pertains to any biological material, such as microorganisms, plants, animals, or their byproducts, that threatens the health of living organisms, most especially humans and animals. Potential biohazards should be handled with extreme caution as they may cause harm and can be fatal in certain cases.
Biohazards can be found anywhere, including the workplace. Hence, it’s crucial to be familiar with at least 10 biological hazard examples so that you have an idea on how to address certain risks that your workers are exposed to. Even more so, employers must establish safety guidelines to ensure minimal risks brought about by such workplace hazards, further keeping workers safe and healthy while on duty.
While various workplaces and industries deal with different biohazards, there are common ones that pose major threats to the health and safety of the workers. Looking at each in detail, here are 10 biological hazard examples that your workers might be exposed to.
Bodily fluids, tissues that contain blood, serum, plasma, and other blood components in liquid or semi-liquid form are examples of biological hazards.
Any animal body part or the beddings of infected animals are also considered as biological hazards.
Direct contact with biological hazards such as human bodily matter in the workplace—blood, saliva, urine, and mucus—is highly risky most especially to healthcare workers.
Usually found in laboratories, this waste may contain concentrated forms of infectious products, such as blood or bodily fluids that have infectious pathogens, specimen cultures, and viruses.
This covers any human body part, tissue, or organ that may have been taken out during surgical procedures.
Belonging to the larger group of infectious waste, this type of biological hazard pertains to syringes, sharp tools, and broken glass that are at risk of pathogenic cross-contamination and piercing through human skin protection.
These are found in nature, needed for the breakdown of plant debris. Such microorganisms can enter a building directly or their spores can be carried in by the air. For some people, inhalation of the molds, fragments of the molds, or spores can lead to serious health problems or worsen certain health conditions.
Workers may also be exposed to rubbish, waste water and sewerage, plant materials, and organic dust.
Pathogenic microbes, which are small enough to be discharged from an infected person, are easily transmitted through sneezing, coughing, and direct or close contact.
As these can be found throughout various geographic regions, stinging insects are especially dangerous to outdoor workers. Such insects include bees, wasps, hornets, and non-venomous and venomous spiders.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
As cited by Aftermath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the 4 biosafety levels, with each of them having specific controls to contain microbes and biological agents:
Per the given biosafety level, there are strict requirements when it comes to the laboratory design, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), biosafety equipment, and other assets or tools used. Further, there are Standard Microbiological Practices to be enforced at all biosafety levels. The 10 biological hazard examples listed in this article may be categorized under each level depending on the potential risks involved. This is why conducting a job hazard analysis and a risk assessment are recommended to streamline safe and quality operations.
According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 is the main legislation applicable to biohazards. As a UK Statutory Instrument, the law describes general requirements on employers to protect their workers and other people from the hazards of substances. This must be enforced by doing the following:
Create Your Own Biohazard Inspection Checklist Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.Get started for free
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
As a dynamic inspection software and mobile app, SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) lets you perform biological hazard assessments efficiently and accurately. In detail, you can do the following using the app’s unique features:
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Utilizing pen and paper for your inspections and operations management can be quite challenging to maintain as the demands of today’s modern workplace dynamics keep evolving. Instead, use these digital inspection and hazard safety checklists to ensure your workers in the frontline are monitored, safe, and kept in the loop:
Patricia Guevara is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. With her extensive content writing and copywriting experience, she creates high-quality content across a variety of relevant topics. She aims to promote workplace safety, operational excellence, and continuous improvement in her articles. She is passionate about communicating how technology can be used to streamline work processes, empowering companies to realize their business goals.
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