The JSA plan must preview all the risks that a worker is subjected to at his job. Among them, the biological risks are the most dangerous, due to the difficulty of detecting them.
Relying on technicians in health and safety is the only thing a worker can do as he cannot see this invisible threat. This is why following the prevention plan to the very detail is so important.
What is an occupational biological risk?
Biological risks are those related to biological contamination. This definition seems tautological, but includes those threats produced by:
– Other pathogenic substances.
To be considered as occupational, it must be linked to the work environment. Thus, it is common for biological hazards to happen in jobs related to organic or medical waste.
How biological pollution happens
Another great danger associated with biological risks is that they can be transmitted to the worker in many different ways.
– For example, some threats attack dermally. Only the contact with the subject’s skin is enough to be contaminated, not necessarily causing visible signs such as rashes or redness.
– Other agents are transmitted by the respiratory tract. These agents are dispersed in the air, or living in gases or aerosols suspended in the environment.
– These pathogens can also be transmitted through the digestive tract. In this case they can not only affect workers during their worktime, but they can access into their body when they are having lunch, hydrating or smoking during their break or after their workday.
– Finally, the so-called parenteral route is what allows these threats to enter through a wound. It can happen at the work environment itself (for example, by handling medical waste such as syringes) or becoming infected thought an existent wound (for example, if it has not been adequately protected).
How to protect yourself from biological risks: the importance of JSA
Given the variety of agents that may pose a biological risk and the multiple modes of contamination, JSA is the best tool to prevent injuries and diseases.
It is essential that an experienced technician analyse threats of this type in the workplace. Once the risks are detected, certain preventive measures will be imposed such as:
– Use PPE that prevents contamination, such as masks, gloves, protective clothing, safety shoes and even NBC suits.
– Install CPE to avoid exposure of the workforce to sources of contamination, such as barriers and seals.
– Establish protocols that minimize the risk of contamination, such as washing thoroughly before entering and leaving the workplace.
In short, a good JSA is the only way to reduce biological risks in the work environment.