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Health and Safety: Teaching Tools

Workers at Risk

Workers at Risk

There are many work environments which put people at risk of exposure to biological hazards.

When working with children and adults be aware that there are a number of infectious diseases, which can be transmitted casually from person to person, such as colds, flus and pneumonia.

Some diseases such as E.coli or Salmonella can be spread from hand contact with dirty surfaces, which have been contaminated by these bacteria ? such as kitchens (from raw meat contact) or toilets (from human waste).

Hepatitis and AIDS are usually the result of exposure to infected blood or from contaminated needlestick injuries.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

No matter where learners work, even as cooks or gardeners, they should be adequately protected from hazards in their surroundings. For example, handling raw chicken and then touching your mouth or eyes ? causing potential ingestion of harmful "germs". Here are some guidelines:

Clothing ? should be snug fitting and usually cover all exposed skin

Footwear ? should always cover the entire foot surface

Aprons or Coats ? worn to protect clothing from hot materials or to protect clothing from bacterial or other contamination


Gloves ? worn to avoid contamination of food or exposure to worker

Goggles ? worn when splattering or spraying can occur

Hairnets ? worn to keep food clean - people lose 50 hairs a day!

Dust Mask ? where dusts or mists should be avoided.

Biological Containment Hoods ? may be required for some biological samples in labs or hospitals. Not all PPE shown helps to protect workers from "biological" hazards.




Here are some examples of how people in different workplaces may wear different PPE.


Workplace Hazards PPE
Cook In a Kitchen Uncooked meat and hot splattering oils Gloves, apron, shoes, eye protection, hairnet (protects food)
Nurse or Hospital Worker Infectious diseases and human wastes Lab coat, shoes, face mask, hand sanitizing lotions
Outdoor Worker Insect bites, wastes, used needles Long sleeves and pants, shoes, heavy gloves if picking up garbage
Pet Store Animals with diseases Gloves, coat, apron, dust mask if sweeping up animal waste

Personal Protection Outdoors


People who must spend a lot of time outdoors in forests and campgrounds as part of their job may be exposed to outdoor biological hazards, such as lyme disease or stinging insects.

Lyme disease is prominent in Ontario as well as throughout Canada since it can be carried by ticks which infect deer, mice and humans. Stings by insects can result in localized pain, redness, swelling, and in some people allergic reactions which can be life-threatening.

If you are allergic to insect stings be sure to inform your employer prior to working outdoors. If you see signs of reaction in yourself or a colleague, call emergency medical services immediately.

WEAR light-coloured clothes to avoid mosquitoes and black flies.
WEAR long pants, socks and shoes in grassy areas to avoid ticks.
USE insect repellents carefully ? especially if they contain the chemical DEET.
AVOID wearing perfumes, colognes and scented soaps or powders ? insects are attracted to fragrance.


Related Content

> Biological Hazards > Workers at Risk



> Other Biological Hazards Subtopics

Food Safety

Infectious Diseases



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