Biological Agents | Infection Control

Employees can be affected in various ways by biological hazards. The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA) contributes to the formulation of technical rules for activities involving biological agents. It also develops new measurement methodologies and researches health risks and appropriate protective measures.

Employees in protective clothing in the laboratory
© iStock | RyanKing

Essentially, a risk is present as soon as an activity requires the handling of biological agents, for instance in laboratories, the healthcare sector, veterinary facilities, or the waste management industry.

Natural outbreaks of infectious diseases, sometimes on a pandemic scale, can raise the risk of infection among employees performing many different kinds of activity as well. Other biological agents may not be infectious, but can trigger sensitising or toxic reactions.

In order to ensure employees working with biological agents benefit from cutting-edge protection, our experts on the Committee on Biological Agents (Ausschuss für Biologische Arbeitsstoffe, ABAS) help keep the Technical Rules for Biological Agents (Technische Regeln für Biologische Arbeitsstoffe, TRBAs) up to date. Researchers at BAuA develop new measurement methodologies and assessment tools. Furthermore, they conduct systematic field research into bioaerosols in the workplace with the aim of preventing airborne transmission. And BAuA is preparing for future pandemics by researching both work-related infection risks and suitable protective measures.

It is hoped the results will enable organisations to correctly assess the risks to their employees from biological agents and infectious diseases, then take suitable protective measures, putting in place appropriate plans and precautions for every eventuality.

Research Projects

Project numberF 2584 StatusOngoing Project Consideration of humans as a bioaerosol source for infection control in the workplace - Quantification of proteins in exhaled air

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2583 StatusOngoing Project Investigation of the size distribution of exhaled particles in temporal relation to mask use

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2562 StatusOngoing Project Occupational COVID-19 exposure and infection risks: Analyses based on the Gutenberg COVID-19 Study.

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2545 StatusCompleted Project Work related investigation of the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infected and Post-COVID symptomatic people based on data of the health authorities in Thuringia

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Research completed

Project numberF 2547 StatusOngoing Project Determination of exposure during phage application in pig barns

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2546 StatusOngoing Project Characterisation of bioaerosols in the fine dust fraction of indoor air

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2509 StatusOngoing Project Relative quantification of proteins in cell culture system exposed to biological agents by mass spectrometry

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2491 StatusOngoing Project Assessment and evaluation of the toxic potential of biological agents on the basis of respiratory tract-related in vitro models: Subproject II: Development of an exposure system for the assessment of volatile metabolites of biological agents

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2489 StatusCompleted Project Assessment of health effects by bioaerosols in case of mould

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Research completed

Project numberF 2486 StatusOngoing Project Determination of the inhalative exposure to hazardous substances and biological agents during the commercial use of gardening devices

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2470 StatusCompleted Project Biomonitoring of workers´ exposure to mycotoxins

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Research completed

Project numberF 2441 StatusCompleted Project Analysis of bioaerosol-borne toxins by proteomics technologies

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Research completed

Project numberF 2426 StatusCompleted Project Molecular differentiation of living and dead biological agents and detection of the tenacity of airborne biological agents

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Research completed

Project numberF 2383 StatusCompleted Project Detection of airborne biological agents under difficult analytical conditions - background measurement and exclusion of inhibitory substances

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Research completed

Project numberF 2356 StatusCompleted Project Exposure of hatchery workers to airborne bacteria under consideration of existing antibiotic resistances

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Research completed

Project numberF 2350 StatusCompleted Project A model system of lung cells for investigation of bacterial pathogenicity

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Research completed

Project numberF 2331 StatusCompleted Project Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in emissions from the industrial livestock farming

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Research completed

Project numberF 2330 StatusCompleted Project Exposure to biological agents at biogas production

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Research completed

Publications

Search results

(In)equality at the workplace? Differences in occupational safety and health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic and related employee health

Article 2023

The complete article "(In)equality at the workplace? Differences in occupational safety and health measures during the COVID-19 …

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Bioaerosols in swine confinement buildings: A metaproteomic view

Article 2023

Swine confinement buildings represent workplaces with high biological air pollution. It is suspected that individual components …

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Authors' response: Occupation and SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among workers during the first pandemic wave in Germany: potential for bias

Article 2022

This article is published in the "Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health" (2022).

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BAuA recommendations for action on SARS-CoV-2

baua: Focus 2022

The BAuA recommendations for action on SARS-CoV-2 are intended to provide guidance on when infection protection measures should …

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In Vitro Systems for Toxicity Evaluation of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds on Humans: Current Status and Trends

Article 2022

Microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOC) are metabolic products and by-products of bacteria and fungi. They play an important …

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Increases in health problems during the first pandemic wave - An analysis of occupational differences based on the German National Cohort (NAKO)

Article 2022

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Increases in health problems during the first pandemic wave - An analysis of occupational differences based on the German National Cohort (NAKO)

Article 2022

The complete article "Increases in health problems during the first pandemic wave - An analysis of occupational differences …

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Occupation and SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among 108 960 workers during the first pandemic wave in Germany

Article 2022

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Occupation and SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among 108 960 workers during the first pandemic wave in Germany

Article 2022

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the occupational risk for a SARS-CoV-2 infection in a nationwide sample of …

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Target Mechanisms of the Cyanotoxin Cylindrospermopsin in Immortalized Human Airway Epithelial Cells

Article 2022

Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a cyanobacterial toxin that occurs in aquatic environments worldwide. It is known for its delayed …

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