Health-care workers are potentially at risk from exposure to biological hazards in the workplace.
These exposures can include medical waste, microorganisms, viruses or toxins from biological sources that can affect health. Over the past decade, a number of outbreaks related to infectious diseases (such as norovirus, Clostridium difficile and influenza) have affected workers and others in health and community care workplaces.
Employers have a responsibility to control these biological hazards in the workplace.
ONA Guidance and Resources
The following guidance documents will help you to learn more about biological hazards and infectious diseases in your workplace.
Ministry of Labour / Guidance Notes
The Ministry of Labour can inspect workplaces or investigate complaints, injuries or accidents with a view to determining compliance with health and safety law.
When inspectors find violations, they can lay charges and prosecute offenders or issue orders. Consult with your ONA bargaining unit leadership and Labour Relations Officer for help, but if danger is imminent, call your local Ministry of Labour office.
Joint Health and Safety Committee Resources
Your safety committee/co-chair has the power to write recommendations to your employer and the employer has to respond in writing within 21 days. Tailor the templates below to help you get started.
Public Services Health and Safety Association Protecting Health Care Workers From Infectious Diseases: A Self Assessment Tool
Public Health Ontario Just Clean Your Hands
Public Health Ontario IPAC Core Competencies: Accessible Documents
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Ontario Health Plan for an Influenza Pandemic – Chapter 5
Emergency Planning and Preparedness – Influenza A(H7N9) Virus in China
Centres for Disease Control Tuberculosis