Keeping people safe at work sometimes requires that attention be paid to biohazards in addition to hazards associated with things like machine operation or handling chemicals. Rather than accidents that result in some sort of trauma, biohazards in the workplace can lead to work related illnesses.
Blood borne Pathogens
Whenever there is an injury that has the potential for those responding to the injury to be exposed to the injured person’s blood or other body fluids, the responders must be protected from exposure to those fluids. This is normally done by a practice called universal precautions. Because it is impossible to know beyond any doubt that a person is not infected with something like AIDS or Hepatitis, responders must treat every case the same way they would if they knew the person was infected. These responders must be trained on how to protect themselves and how to properly clean any blood contaminated objects.
Whenever water is used in processes or in places where it can stand, there is the potential for the presence of legionella. The danger here is that it could lead to Legionnaires Disease. The water in equipment like cooling towers is normally treated with chemicals to keep the presence of legionella and other hazards at bay. Part of the treatment program often involves lab testing of the water in order to know what adjustments in the amount of chemicals are necessary. Organizations like GTS Legionella Water Testing Lab have the capacity to test water for the presence of these contaminants. This testing should be done at regular intervals to make sure everything remains hazard-free.
Bacteria can grow in things like metalworking fluids. When it reaches certain levels, the fluid must be treated with chemicals. This not only helps to keep the people safe, but it keeps the fluids functioning as they should. Bacteria can deplete some of the constituents that help the fluids do their job. Running a bacteria test is a fairly simple procedure that can be done in house or at an offsite lab.
Biosafety courses exist to keep employees trained on how to protect themselves against biohazards. In some cases, training is required upon initial assignment and annually thereafter.
Activities to keep down the presence of biohazards should not be taken lightly. Some of these problems are difficult to detect with the naked eye, but if a problem does occur, the consequences could be serious. Prevention, therefore goes a long way.