The law

In the UK, the legislation that usually applies to biological agents in the workplace is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002. The context in which biohazards could be found within a museum collection – however likely – does apply and is covered in the regulations as ‘incidental exposure’, which means any non-intentional exposure. Employers and employees have duties to prevent this type of exposure. COSHH does not cover situations where an employee passes an infection to another employee, but other existing H&S legislation does. For example, businesses must take reasonable steps to protect workers and others from COVID-19 which are part of the general duties imposed on employers under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Warning symbol used to identify biohazards