Risk assessment and analysis

Risk assessment and analysis

It is the employer’s duty to assess the probability, nature, scale and duration of exposure if their employees can be exposed to biological agents through their work. The assessment makes it possible to measure the risk posed to employees’ health or safety and to determine what action must be taken to mitigate the risk.

There are biological agents present in many different kinds of work environments.

The assessment must factor in

  • the risk groups of the biological agents present in the workplace
  • any official recommendations on the protection of workers
  • any information available on work-related allergies or toxic reactions and diseases attributable to biological agents generally and in the workplace in question, and
  • the employees who are most at risk.

The assessment must be reviewed at regular intervals and whenever circumstances change in a manner that can cause employees to become exposed to new biological agents.

No limit values have been set for levels of airborne biological exposure agents that can be harmful to health. Simply measuring the levels of exposure agents is therefore not enough.

The employer’s risk assessment must be thorough enough to be able to determine, in particular,

  • what biological exposure agents are present in the workplace
  • to which risk groups they belong
  • at which stages of their work employees are exposed to biological agents
  • who is exposed
  • by what degree are employees exposed, and
  • how significant the risk of exposure to biological agents is from the perspective of employees’ safety and health.

The employer must also take action to mitigate the risks identified by the assessment.

Pursuant to the Finnish Occupational Health Care Act, employers must, if necessary, consult occupational health care professionals in order to identify health hazards and risks.