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Occupational Health & Safety: Biological Hazards

1755 words - 7 pages

This presentation will include what biological hazards exist in the workplace, legislation for industries involving this issue, and provide examples and prevention for employers in a variety of industries.Firstly though I will take you through what biological hazards are and will go into a little detail of ones that we come into contact with everyday.Biological hazards are living things, or substances produced by living things, that can cause illness, disease or worst-case death in humans. These agents, as funny as it sounds, do have many uses in the workplace, but most of them are quite harmful and include bacteria, viruses, and fungi as well as larger organisms such as parasites and plants.These hazards can be found in both raw and processed products. They're living microorganisms (microbes) that are too small to see with the naked eye and live everywhere in our environment.Microbes are classified into various groups. Some cause illness, while others spoil food. Others can even be beneficial in a number of foods. Certain types of bacteria, yeast and molds actually grow in food and can produce chemicals or by-products that give particular foods favorable characteristics. Having said this, other microbes can cause spoilage, as their by-products tend to cause food to look, taste, and smell bad. Spoilage is undesirable but is normally not associated with safety.Let's just take a quick look at some of the microbes that are considered beneficial. These are ones that produce desirable properties and components in foods. These comprise of bacteria and fungi, which can be either yeast or moulds. Certain yeast, moulds and bacteria are used to make foods that we eat everyday including beer, bread, wine, cheese, yogurt, soy sauce and salami. These foods couldn't be made without introducing certain types of microbes that produce the side-effect necessary for the distinctive taste and texture that you would expect. Because these microbes do not cause illness, they are not considered a food safety hazard.Microbes that can cause disease or illness are called pathogens - a word, which properly defined, means disease-causing. Pathogens are biological food safety hazards that must be evaluated in any hazard analysis. If it's determined that a pathogen is reasonably likely to occur at a level that will cause illness, this hazard would need to be controlled in an OHS plan or under legislative requirements. These biological hazards can be present in a food product that appears to be of good quality with no obvious visual signs or odours to indicate that the food is unsafe or bad. There are three types of pathogenic organisms that can be potential food safety hazards. They are: bacteria, viruses and parasites. We will look at each one in a bit further detail in a minute, but firstly here is a legislative requirement for an employer that is consistent with the hazard management approach in the South Australian Consolidated Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare...

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