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Biological hazards

Hazard Knowledge

Biological hazards are those that involve living things, whether they come from people, animals, or plants. These hazards are present in the working environment and have the potential to come into contact with firefighters and cause physical injury or illness. By their nature these hazards can be unseen or unidentifiable to personnel (particularly in the case of micro-organisms).

Biological hazards include:

  • Infections
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Body fluids for more information see HSE guidance on Bloodborne viruses
  • Animal fluids
  • Bites
  • Stings
  • Zoonosis

Routes of exposure include:

  • Inhalation
  • Absorption, the risk of exposure through absorption may be increased through areas of soft
  • tissue such as the eyes or mouth
  • Ingestion
  • Injection: Exposure can occur when a sharp object punctures the skin

For more detailed information see Public Health England - Infectious diseases