Infectious diseases kill thousands of Americans annually. These include bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B and C and other diseases spread by contact with droplets or particles suspended in the air.
LIUNA members working in healthcare environments and performing hazardous waste cleanup are at particular risk for contact with infectious diseases and biological hazards. Laborers may be at risk for exposure to biological hazards from sewage, mold and fungi, droppings from birds and mammals or many other sources. These biological agents can adversely affect human health in a variety of ways, ranging from mild allergic reactions to serious medical conditions and even death.
Biological hazards occur in places construction laborers work every day, so knowing how to identify and protect against these unseen hazards before they are found is key to keeping workers safe. Proper personal hygiene between tasks and the use of proper protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, clothing and N95 respirators is essential for limiting exposure to and preventing the spread of biological hazards. Each infectious disease or biological hazard identified or encountered in the workplace will need to be addressed using a tailored approach.