Biological Agents: Risk Assessment and Prevention Measures

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agentes biologicos

Elsa Brandão is the Technical of safety and heath at work at Pipe Masters and performs functions in the area of ​​safety, environment and quality, and as a safety and health technician, it is her responsibility to investigate the dangers and the consequent professional risks, in order to evaluate and implement measures preventive and / or corrective measures to minimize or eliminate possible damage.

 

Biological agents harmful to human health are pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, including genetically modified ones, cell cultures and human endoparasites, susceptible to cause infections, allergies and toxicity (art.3ºa) of DL nº. (84/97);

 

These are present in the environment that surrounds us, whether on the street, at home or at work, and cohabit with all living beings. However, some of these microorganisms cause disease.

 

Risks Assessment

 

Risk assessment forms the basis of the approach to the management of hazards and risks of Safety and Health at Work, allowing the identification of biological agents causing risk, the possibility of their spread and the time of actual or potential exposure for workers. At the same time, it allows formulating guidelines for the application of measures to protect workers against dangerous biological agents.

 

The protection of workers is based on the assessment  of exposure risks, which are determined, on the one hand, by the adequacy of the facilities, equipment and work practices, taking into account the list of biological agents (Ordinance 1036/98 of 15 December) as well as the recommendations of the General Health Directorate (DGS).

 

However, in view of the emergence of new biological agents, in which there is insufficient data for correct risk assessment, the measures recommended by the General Health Directorate (DGS) and the World Health Organization (OGS) will be adopted, as is the case of COVID-19.

 

Measures to prevent and reduce exposure risks

 

The employer should, whenever possible, replace dangerous agents with other agents that, if they are not dangerous or cause less danger to the safety or health of workers.

  • Establish appropriate work procedures and use appropriate technical measures to prevent or minimize the release of biological agents, Example:
    • Minimize the formation of bioaerosols using biological safety cabinets or localized extraction;
    • Reduce the number of exposed workers;
    • Adopt collective protection measures complemented with individual protection measures when exposure cannot be avoided by other means. Note: Individual protection equipment (IPE) can itself be a source of contamination;
    • Adopt safe measures for the reception handling and transport of biological agents.

 

 

 

Prevention at Pipe Masters

 

The safety of all employees is guaranteed by Pipe Masters on daily basis.
Based on preventive measures such as medical surveillance and its monitoring ( such as: spirometry testes), vaccination plan, information and awareness of works, evaluation of chemical agents, waste management and hygiene and disinfection of the environment, materials and equipment, cleaning and disinfection of IPE’S, among others.

Have any questions? Leave us your data! We will contact you in order to clarify in more detail the measures we have adopted in the company to ensure safety.

 

 

TALK TO A SPECIALIST

 

 

 

Opinion Article by Elsa Brandão

Technical of safety and heath at work of Pipe Masters

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