Management and Prevention of Infectious Diseases on Construction Sites

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Note: For National Capital Area only and optional for other regions

The Real Property Branch (RPB) has implemented preventative and control measures to protect individuals, assets and construction sites against the risks associated with pigeon and bat droppings. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) building, bridge, dam and wharf structures provide natural nesting habitats for pigeons and bats. This, in turn, exposes PSPC employees, clients, consultants and contractors to higher levels of health risks associated with the inhalation of airborne particles from the resultant droppings.

Human exposure to pigeon or bat droppings can result in infections, disease, flu/pneumonia-like symptoms, blindness, and in rare cases, death. The two primary diseases resulting from the inhalation of these droppings are 'hypersensitivity pneumonitis' and 'histoplasmosis'. Another rare but related fatal disease is 'disseminated histoplasmosis'.

The Ministry of Labour advises that these droppings cannot be classified as a hazardous material since they are neither a manufactured nor a controlled product. They do, however closely match the materials classified in the Workplace hazardous materials information system policy (037) (accessible to Public Services and Procurement Canada employees only) Class D, Division 3, Biohazardous Infectious Material. Due to the nature of real property projects, project managers must:

Prevention and Control Measures


On projects with a probability of encountering histoplasmosis, project managers should:

Preparation Phase


Work sites

Waste Cleanup Phase


Should wear protective clothing available at the work site such as:

Work sites

institute and stress safe work practices:


There are specified methods to dispose of contaminated material and the contractor must provide a certificate of proper disposal.

Post-Cleanup Phase


Work sites

For other sites such as bridges and on/around dams, no contaminated materials must be permitted to fall into or be disposed into the underlying or surrounding marine environment.

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