Biological Hazards on Construction Sites

Written by geoffrey st. marie
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Biological Hazards on Construction Sites
Construction sites may use placards to designate danger. (biohazard image by Josef F Stuefer from

Biological hazards are disease-causing organisms and substances produced by organisms. Examples of organisms that are biohazards include salmonella bacteria and the Ebola virus. Examples of substances that are biohazards include droppings from rats that have the Hanta virus and blood from humans that have hepatitis C. On Workers on construction sites may be exposed to a variety of biohazards.

Types of Biological Hazards

Biohazards are often found in water systems and sewers, conduits which may contain bacteria and biological waste. In the United States, many sewer systems are antiquated. Their lack of structural integrity and the lack of regular maintenance increase the likelihood that biohazards will pose serious threats.

OSHA and Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens represent another threat. The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) has instituted a Blood Borne Pathogens Standard to control and minimise blood-exposure scenarios in a number of industries. While construction is not a principal industry, workers do have recourse to its provisions for preventing harmful infections during the course of work.

Warning Signs

Biohazards on construction sites are indicated through signs called placards. These placards are commercially produced for industry professionals and relay information, codes and warnings specific to the substance in question. Placards are used not only on-site, but on the vehicles charged with transporting hazardous materials between facilities.

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