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Risk assessment

It is essential to address the potential risks to health and safety in any workplace by completing a general risk assessment. In addition to this and their legal responsibilities under COSHH, employers should also do the following to determine whether specific risk controls against BBV exposure are required:

Identify the hazards

Decide who might be harmed and how

Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

Record your findings and implement them and any relevant control measures, to include consideration of:

Regular reassessment of identified risks and any control measures, for example:

Further information on the key elements of the risk assessment process can be found in: Risk management .

When assessing the risks associated with potential exposure to BBV, don't overcomplicate the process. In many organisations, the risks are well known and the necessary control measures are easy to apply. Most employers should already know whether, and how, their employees could potentially be exposed to BBV. If so, checks should be made to ensure that reasonable precautions are in place to avoid exposure.

Further reading

There are additional requirements for more specialised work involving the deliberate handling and genetic modification of blood-borne viruses. The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) has produced guidance on managing the risks of biological agents in laboratory and healthcare premises, see:

Updated 2012-03-27