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National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998)

Environmental Management Plan : Department of Labour

Chapter 4 : Environmental Management Policies

4.7. Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents



The DOL has developed a set of Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA). These regulations are applicable to every employer and self-employed person at a workplace where—

HBA is deliberately produced, processed, used, handled, stored or transported; or
an incident occurs that does not involve a deliberate intention to work with a hazardous biological agent but may result in persons being exposed to a hazardous biological agent in the performance of work.
These regulations include responsibilities of the employer to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. Every employer and every self-employed person shall ensure that he/she or any persons who in any manner assists him/her in the carrying out of his/her business, has the necessary information and has undergone sufficient training in order for them to identify the potential risks and the precautions that should be taken.


Every employer and self-employed person shall ensure control of exposure of employees to HBA by ensuring that:

exposure of persons to an HBA in the working environment is either prevented or where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled by limiting the amount of HBA used that may contaminate the working environment and by limiting the number of employees who will be exposed or may be exposed;
standard precautions are implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of HBA from recognized and unrecognised sources of infection in a workplace.
engineering control measures for the control of exposure are in place;
provision of appropriate work procedures that employees must follow where materials are used, processes are carried out, or incidents may occur that could give rise to the exposure of an employee to an HBA, and such procedures shall include written instructions to ensure:
the safe handling, use and disposal of an HBA;
the proper use and maintenance of process machinery, installations, equipment, tools and local extraction and general ventilation systems;
the regular cleaning of machinery and work areas by vacuum cleaners fitted with a suitable filter that prevents contamination of the environment; and
that a system whereby changes in work procedures and processes that indicate the need for early corrective action can be readily identified.
emissions to the atmosphere comply with the provisions of the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (Act 45 of 1965);
the biohazard sign and other relevant warning signs are displayed; and
procedures are specified for taking, handling and processing samples that may contain HBA.