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.

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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.

Prosecutions

Resources

Guidance Notes

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.

External Resources

Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

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 Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Core Competencies
Training Module: Routine Practices

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

Ministry of Labour
Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare

Centres for Disease Control
Tuberculosis