A biological agent is any micro-organism, even if genetically modified, cell culture and human endoparasite that could cause infection, allergy or intoxication.
The symbol was designed in 1966 by Charles Baldwin, an environmental engineer employed by Dow Chemical.*
* US company that since 2015 has been known as DowDuPont. Since 2007 it has been the second largest chemical manufacturer in the world.
The risk of exposure to biological agents in the workplace can arise from the raw materials or substances used, biological fluids, organic dust, animals, insects, plant substances, poor hygiene or poor management of air conditioning systems.
The biological risk is often environmental and, therefore, transversal, present both in work activities where the presence of biological agents is 'traditionally' recognised (health care environments, diagnostic and research laboratories, the waste sector, animal husbandry, etc.), and in environments such as offices, schools, means of transport, beauty and sports centres, etc.
There is no working environment where this risk can be ignored.
For more info on this topic read all related articles: Classification of Biological Agents, Biological Agents and Transmissibility, Microorganisms.