SAFE07050 2019 Occupational Health & Biohazards

General Details

Full Title
Occupational Health & Biohazards
Transcript Title
Occupational Health & Biohazar
N/A %
Subject Area
SAFE - Safety Studies
ESCI - Environmental Science
07 - NFQ Level 7
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Blaithin McGrath, John Crummy
Programme Membership
SG_SOCCU_J07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health

This aim of this module is to investigate the effects of workplace health hazards and biohazards on the health of the worker.  This module will evaluate the potential of microorganisms to cause occupationally acquired diseases and will examine methods for the prevention, control and disposal of these pathogens. Occupational health services and consider appropriate health surveillance strategies with a focus on prevention and rehabilitation.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Apply the multidisciplinary approach to managing occupational health risk.


Demonstrate a detailed knowledge on the strategies for prevention and rehabilitation within occupational health.


Distinguish between physical, chemical, ergonomic and psychosocial health hazards and identify their biological effect on the body.


Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of biological health hazards in the workplace.


Develop and communicate methods for infection prevention & control; and for the storage, treatment & disposal of biohazardous wastes.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module will be delivered part-time.

This module will be delivered using blended learning techniques.

This will include online lectures (via adobe connect or similar), workshops and may include site visits, augmented by independent learning and directed learning.

This approach is expected to address student-learning needs.

Moodle will be used as a repository of educational resources and as a means of assessment (e.g. quizzes, uploading assignments and journals).

The online delivery will be blended with workshops to bring the learners together to facilitate group learning.

Module Assessment Strategies

This module is 50% Continuous Assessment and 50% Final Exam

2 x Moodle Quizzes (MCQ's) (10%): shall take place (towards the middle and end of semester).

Workshop Assignment (10%): Students work in groups to develop solutions to prescribed workplace H&S issues through enquiry based learning.

Individual research report assignment (30%): Students will produce a report on OHS issues in the workplace and will be submitted via Moodle towards the end of the semester.

Final exam (50%) at end of term.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat Continuous Assessment and/or Final Exam

Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

1. Apply the multidisciplinary approach to managing occupational health risk.

  • Historical context of Occupational Health and Medicine. 
  • Policy makers and key drivers of occupational health.
  • Occupational health services, the multidisciplinary team approach, specialist services.

2. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge on the strategies for prevention and rehabilitation within occupational health.

  • Interpretation of statistics and data related to occupational ill health.  
  • Vulnerable risk groups such as young, old and pregnant employees especially in relation to specified legislative requirement. 
  • Appropriate occupational health and health surveillance strategies to manage workplace health hazards with key focus on legislative arrangements.
  • Issues relating to health screening for workplace health hazards programme.
  • Appropriate occupational health strategies to manage workplace health hazards.
  • Early interventions, absence management, case management, employee assistant programmes,

3. Distinguish between physical, chemical, ergonomic and psychosocial health hazards and identify their biological effect on the body.

  • Occupational health effects of physical, chemical, ergonomic and psychosocial hazards.
  • Topics covered may include: 
    • Respiratory illnesses associated with chemical dusts, vapours, mist or fumes. 
    • Skin diseases associated with respiratory irritants and sensitisers causing occupational dermatitis.  
    • Radiation and its adverse health effects.
    • Health effects associated with noise and vibration and heat extremes.  
    • Chemicals and their associated health effects. 
    • Musculoskeletal disorders and their physical and psychological effects on the individual.
    • Adverse health effects associated with night work and shift work, bullying and work related stress.  

4. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of biological health hazards in the workplace.

  • Structure, function and pathogenicity of microorganisms including: occupationally acquired bacteria, fungi and viruses,
  • Occupations at risk from biohazards
  • Diseases potentially transmitted in the workplace
  • Body's Defence Mechanisms against pathogenic organisms
  • Bioterrorism
  • Reports, case studies, journals, articles, etc

5. Develop and communicate methods for the prevention, control and disposal of biohazards.

  • Methods of prevention, control and disposal of biohazards
  • Biosafety
  • Biopharmaceutical Safety
  • Legislation governing Biological Agents in the workplace.
  • Risk Assessment of Biological Health Hazards
  • Reports, case studies, journals, articles, etc

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 MCQs Continuous Assessment Multiple Choice 10 % OnGoing 2,3,4
2 Assignment Continuous Assessment Assignment 30 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5
3 Workshop assignment Continuous Assessment Group Project 10 % OnGoing 1,5

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % End of Term 1,2,3,4,5

Online Learning Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Online Lecture Not Specified Lecture 1 Weekly 1.00
Directed Learning Not Specified Directed learning 0.85 Weekly 0.85
Workshop Flat Classroom Group learning 2.5 Once Per Semester 0.17
Independent Learning Not Specified Self Study 5 Weekly 5.00
Total Online Learning Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.02 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2014-07-18 CURRENT Occupational and Environmental Medicine 5/E McGraw-Hill Medical
ISBN 0071808159 ISBN-13 9780071808156

A thorough, concise, up-to-date guide to the diagnosis and treatment of common occupational and environmental injuries and diseases

Coverage includes:

  • Chapters on how to conduct an occupational and environmental medical history, examine the patient, evaluate exposures, and prevent further injury and illness
  • New methods of disability management and the important role that physicians can play in preventing disability
  • Practical information on the toxic properties and clinical manifestation of common industrial materials
  • Techniques to prevent acute and cumulative workplace-related injuries
  • Detailed discussion of international occupational and environmental health, and issues of worker migration
  • An appendix that concisely introduces the important topics of biostatistics and epidemiology

The definitive overview of common occupational and environmental illnesses

NEW CHAPTERS on electronic health records, the management of chronic pain, violence in the workplace, terrorism preparedness, disease surveillance, and chemical policy

Valuable to practicing physicians as well as students and residents

Recommended Reading
2013-03-01 Fitness for Work: The Medical Aspects Oxford University Press
ISBN 0199643245 ISBN-13 9780199643240

The 'bible' of occupational health, Fitness for Work is the most in-depth and comprehensive resource available on the effects of ill health on employment. Expert authors provide practical guidance on the employment potential of anyone with an illness or disability, as well as examining the art and skills of fitness for work assessment and its ethical framework.

Fully revised and updated, Fitness for Work, fifth edition now includes, for the first time, important new chapters on work in cancer survivors, health promotion in the workplace, and managing and avoiding sickness absence. Following in the all-encompassing and comprehensive tradition of the previous editions, it also continues to provide coverage of and information on support for rehabilitation, work at older ages, health screening, and the full array of medical and surgical health problems that can affect fitness for work.

Chapters are organized by medical condition to enable effortless reference, and are co-authored by a topic specialist and a specialist occupational physician providing a comprehensive view of the subject. The latest developments in legislation and government guidelines are included ensuring the book is up-to-date and provides the most current procedures in the field.

Fitness for Work delivers a wealth of valuable consensus guidance, codes of practice, and locally evolved standards to enable well-informed clinical judgements to be made. All occupational health professionals should have a copy of this highly-regarded resource on their desks.

Recommended Reading
2011-01-25 Occupational and Environmental Health: Recognizing and Preventing Disease and Injury Oxford University Press
ISBN 0195397886 ISBN-13 9780195397888

Occupational and environmental health is the public health and multidisciplinary approach to the recognition, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and control of disease, injuries, and other adverse health conditions resulting from hazardous environmental exposures in the workplace, the home, or the community. These are essential elements of public health practice and the core course in Environmental Health in Masters of Public Health programs.

Thoroughly updated and expanded upon, the sixth edition of Occupational and Environmental Health provides comprehensive coverage and a clear understanding of occupational and environmental health and its relationships to public health, environmental science, and governmental policy. New chapters include Toxicology, Risk Communication, Health Equity and Social Justice, Occupational and Environmental Health Surveillance, Food Safety, Protecting Disaster Rescue and Recovery Workers, Implementing Programs and Policies for a Healthy Workforce, and Addressing the Built Environment and Health. The authors also expand on chapters included in previous chapters, and the book features practical case studies, numerous tables, graphs, and photos, and annotated bibliographies.

Reviews for previous editions:
"This text goes a long way in meeting the need for a brief overview of the entire field. The quality of writing is in general excellent, and this is a physically attractive book. Chapters are concise and to the point. The use of illustrative cases in many of the chapters is a definite plus. This an excellent book and a mainstay for introductory courses in the field."--The American Journal of Industrial Medicine

"It achieves a good blend of practical application, together with the elements of the supporting sciences, such as toxicology and epidemiology, as well the social context. It is a useful text to inform and support day-to-day practice, to educate students, and to help with examinations. If I had not received a reviewer's copy, i would have bought the book out of my own pocket."--Occupational and Environmental Medicine

"The book is geared primarily to medical personnel and professionals, but it contains many chapters that would be of use to nearly everyone. It is a delight to read."--Journal of Community Health

Recommended Reading
2006-12-04 Occupational Health: Pocket Consultant Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN 1405122218 ISBN-13 9781405122214

Offering a balance of theory and practice, with guides for further reading, this is a clinical guide for the practitioner in the widest sense: physicians, nurses, occupational hygienists, safety officers, environmental, health officers and personnel managers. With coverage of both medicine and hygiene, and including sections on OH law, it is a primer for appropriate courses and provides all that the interested medical student would need to know.

Recommended Reading
2016-04-19 Biological Risk Engineering Handbook CRC Press
ISBN 9781420032161 ISBN-13 142003216X

This handbook discusses biological risk engineering, an extension of industrial hygiene that involves the assessment, control, and decontamination of indoor biological risks. The book synergizes the knowledge of experts in various fields, from law to toxicology, to provide a compendium of information for applying science to limit biological risk. Biological Risk Engineering Handbook: Infection Control and Decontamination begins with a microbiological dictionary, using pictures to illustrate the basic morphology and culture appearance of fungi, bacteria, viruses and prions. The text then reviews sampling and laboratory procedures to ensure coordination between sampling teams and their ultimate receiving laboratory. The contributing authors further examine interpretation issues associated with toxicological studies and risk assessment in hopes of providing further impetus for synergistic studies related to risk assessment and management of biohazardous agents. Other topics include ventilation design, infection control, and the use of biocides. The discussion of Legionella control and cooling towers serves as a case study of how design, maintenance, and decontamination should be a seamless process. The contributors also discuss patent utility requirements, insurance processes, laws, and current regulations, including a chapter on Tuberculosis that compares OSHA and CDC guidelines. Finally, security is addressed from the standpoint of both homeland security in the United States and the security of individual laboratories. From assessment methods to design options, Biological Risk Engineering Handbook presents state-of-the-art techniques and practices to measure, control, and contain human exposure to biological contaminants. With the concern of biological risk on the rise and the emerging fear today of biological warfare, this handbook allows you to move into the future armed with the information needed to limit this threat.

Recommended Reading
2015-06-24 Basic Principles of Microbiology & Immunology
ISBN 1519668872 ISBN-13 9781519668875


Recommended Reading
2015 Environmental Microbiology
ISBN 0123946263 ISBN-13 9780123946263

'Environmental Microbiology' is a student text that discusses the applied effects of micro-organisms in the environment on human activities rather than the interactions between micro-organisms and between micro-organisms and the environment.

Recommended Reading
2014-07-07 Biological Safety ASM Press
ISBN 1555819249 ISBN-13 9781555819248

This title is published by the American Society for Microbiology Press and distributed by Taylor and Francis in rest of world territories.

Recommended Reading
2008-08-29 Practical Handbook of Microbiology CRC Press
ISBN 0849393655 ISBN-13 9780849393655

The field of microbiology has developed considerably in the last 20 years, building exponentially on its own discoveries and growing to encompass many other disciplines. Unfortunately, the literature in the field tends to be either encyclopedic in scope or presented as a textbook and oriented for the student. Finding its niche between these two poles, the second edition of the bestselling Practical Handbook of Microbiology provides in-depth chapters on all aspects of the field, from classical microbiology to genomics, in an easily accessible volume. Reflecting the sweeping changes in microbiology, yet retaining the popular format of the original, this second edition includes many chapter rewrites and more than 20 new or expanded chapters. New in the second edition: Five new chapters in Part I: Identification of Gram-Positive Bacteria, Identification of Gram-Negative Bacteria, Plaque Assays, Phage Display, and Epidemiological Methods 15 new chapters in Part II, including Mycobacteria, Legionella, Hemophillus, Listeria, Campylobacter, Helicobacter, Yersinia, Bordetella, Other Zoonotic Bacteria, Other Anaerobic Bacteria, Archae, Biofilms, Bacteriophage, Parasites, and more An entirely new survey table of selected eubacteria Introduction to Yeasts and Introduction to Animal Virology, two topics covered only briefly in the first edition, are now full length chapters Various brief taxonomy chapters are now complete chapters with descriptions of genus and species An in depth explanation of all of the currently available diagnostic procedures used in the microbiology laboratory Providing basic knowledge and practical information on working with microorganisms, Practical Handbook of Microbiology, Second Edition is designed to facilitate highly specialized working microbiologists, as well as those who simply use microbiology as an adjunct to their own discipline, in finding relevant information easily, in a clear and concise single volume.

Recommended Reading
2008 Principles of Modern Microbiology Jones & Bartlett Learning
ISBN 9780763710750 ISBN-13 076371075X

Principles of Modern Microbiology presents an authoritative, balanced introduction to microbiology for majors. Ideal for the one-semester course, the text provides a manageable amount of detail, omitting topics that were previously taught in prerequisite courses, while still maintaining a level of intellectual rigor appropriate for students at this level. A dynamic art program presents accurate molecular & cellular images in an innovative 3-D like style, while the authors clear, student-friendly writing style helps students grasp difficult concepts. Great Experiments boxes throughout the text describe real-world experiments and allow students to gain a clear sense of the experimental process as it applies to microbiology. Complete with a wealth of student and instructor resources, Principles of Modern Microbiology is sure to engage and inspire majors who are looking to expand their knowledge of the many facets of microbiology.

Recommended Reading
2007-10-01 Microbial Biotechnology Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0521842107 ISBN-13 9780521842105

Knowledge in microbiology is growing exponentially through the determination of genomic sequences of hundreds of microorganisms and the invention of new technologies such as genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics, to deal with this avalanche of information. These genomic data are now exploited in thousands of applications, ranging from those in medicine, agriculture, organic chemistry, public health, biomass conversion, to biomining. Microbial Biotechnology. Fundamentals of Applied Microbiology focuses on uses of major societal importance, enabling an in-depth analysis of these critically important applications. Some, such as wastewater treatment, have changed only modestly over time, others, such as directed molecular evolution, or 'green' chemistry, are as current as today's headlines. This fully revised second edition provides an exciting interdisciplinary journey through the rapidly changing landscape of discovery in microbial biotechnology. An ideal text for courses in applied microbiology and biotechnology courses, this book will also serve as an invaluable overview of recent advances in this field for professional life scientists and for the diverse community of other professionals with interests in biotechnology.

Recommended Reading
2006 Biohazards Facts on File
ISBN 0816046875 ISBN-13 9780816046874

Looks at the history of how powerful microscopic invaders have plagued the human race and how humans have responded to these attacks, and examines the recent resurgence of diseases such as tuberculosis and staphylococcus.

Recommended Reading
2002 Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace Wiley-Interscience
ISBN UOM:39015053784461

Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace Second Edition Peter H. Wald and Gregg M. Stave The first award-winning edition of Peter Wald and Gregg Stave's Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace has become one of the leading references for the practice of occupational and environmental health. During the seven years since the landmark first edition appeared, there have been major revisions of government standards and guidelines for physical agents such as ergonomics, shift work, and electric power, and for biological agents such as tuberculosis and blood-borne pathogens. Now extensively updated and expanded, this book continues to be a practical "how to" reference for health and safety professionals. The text is logically organized for quick reference, with separate sections devoted to physical and biological hazards. Introductory chapters furnish an overview of each broad class of workplace hazard, followed by detailed entries describing specific causes, agents, and organisms. All recognized sources of physical hazards are discussed, including ergonomic hazards; dangers associated with shift work; extremes of temperature and atmospheric pressure; energy hazards including noise, electricity, infrared and ultraviolet light, lasers, magnetic fields, and microwave and RF exposure; and ionizing radiation. Biological agents are covered in equal depth, from the fundamentals of microbiology and infectious disease to the specific details of organic hazards like wood dust and endotoxins-plus viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, envenomations, and more. The latest research and pharmaceutical technologies and their attendant risks are considered, including recombinant organisms, prions, and malignant cells. The text is organized according to a common format that encompasses all the information health professionals require: * Occupational setting * Exposure route and measurement guidelines * Normal physiology and pathophysiology or pathobiology * Diagnosis and treatment * Medical surveillance * Control and prevention * OSHA and NIOSH standards and guidelines The contributors include many of the nation's leading authorities in occupational and environmental medicine. Drs. Wald and Stave won the Jean Spencer Felton Award for scientific writing in 1995 from the Western Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association for the first edition of Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace. The first edition is also on the Core Recommended Reading List from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. With a foreword by Dr. James P. Hughes and extensive references to the broader body of professional literature, this is an indispensable first source of information and guidance for both primary care professionals and occupational health and industrial hygiene specialists. No other single reference addresses the full spectrum of physical and biological workplace hazards. Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace covers the subject with unparalleled clarity, precision, and authority.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Joseph LaDou (2014) CURRENT Occupational and Environmental Medicine 5/E McGraw-Hill Medical

Keith T Palmer (2013) Fitness for Work: The Medical Aspects Oxford University Press

Barry S. Levy (2011) Occupational and Environmental Health: Recognizing and Preventing Disease and Injury Oxford University Press

Tar-Ching Aw (2006) Occupational Health: Pocket Consultant Wiley-Blackwell


Martha J. Boss, Dennis W. Day (2016) Biological Risk Engineering Handbook CRC Press

Ajit V. Pandya (2015) Basic Principles of Microbiology & Immunology CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Ian L. Pepper, Charles P. Gerba, Terry J. Gentry (2015) Environmental Microbiology Academic Press: Elsevier

Diane O. Fleming, Debra L. Hunt (2014) Biological Safety ASM Press

Emanuel Goldman, Lorrence H. Green (2008) Practical Handbook of Microbiology CRC Press

Mark Wheelis (2008) Principles of Modern Microbiology Jones & Bartlett Learning

Alexander N. Glazer, Hiroshi Nikaido (2007) Microbial Biotechnology Cambridge University Press

Sean M. Grady, John Tabak (2006) Biohazards Facts on File

Peter H. Wald, Gregg M. Stave (2002) Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace Wiley-Interscience

Class Materials: Reports, Case Studies, Journal Articles, etc

Journal Resources

Journal of Safety Research

Professional Safety Journal

URL Resources

Other Resources

Students will be given access to handouts, relevant reports and research reports on the moodle page for this module.


Additional Information