Biological Hazard

Last Updated: August 28, 2020

Definition - What does Biological Hazard mean?

A biological hazard is a danger stemming from an organic source. Viruses, bacteria, mold, fungi, and natural toxins are all considered biological hazards. Vectors for transmission of a biological hazard varies greatly by the type of hazard. Person to person contact, airborne particles, waterborne transmission, and contact with contaminated surfaces are all common transmission vectors. Biological hazards are sometimes called biohazards.

WorkplaceTesting explains Biological Hazard

Companies must be aware of biological hazards from both the materials involved in their normal work processes (for example, a meat processing plant must be aware of biological hazards that might be contained within the meat and how the risk is affected by environmental circumstances and work processes) and from their own personnel (an employee coming to work while sick with the flu for example).

Mitigation of biological hazards will vary widely depending on the work environment and the expected hazards. A strategy incorporating practical measures such as designating biohazard zones, posting biohazard placard labels at various locations, and educating employees with updated health and safety material is useful. Warning signage and comprehensive safety restraint methods can deter the occurrence or recurrence of known and continuing biological hazards.

Policy regulations can prevent or lower the incidence rate of acquiring infectious conditions and diseases, sustaining productivity levels, and curtailing healthcare costs. Proper instruction in personal hygiene is an effective avenue to avoid contamination or cross-contamination from some harmful substances. This can include regular hand washing, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), respiratory protective equipment (RPE), and ensuring all known biohazard materials are appropriately labeled.

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