- Safety and Health Topics
- Avian Flu
Guidance for Protecting Employees Against Avian FluAvian influenza, commonly known as "avian flu" or "bird flu," is caused by influenza type A viruses that normally only occur in birds. Avian flu is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, such as chickens, ducks and turkeys, very sick and kill them. These viruses usually do not infect humans, but in recent years several cases of avian flu infection in humans have been reported.
There are several subtypes of avian influenza A viruses. The subtype that has become of major concern is avian influenza A (pN1) virus which has caused the deaths of millions of birds and also poses a health risk to humans.
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-Site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-Site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
- OSHA Guidance Update on Protecting Employees from Avian Flu (Avian Influenza) Viruses (PDF). OSHA Publication 3323, (2006). Also available in Spanish.
- Avian Flu. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2006). Also available in Spanish.
- OSHA QuickCards™ to Protect Yourself: Avian Flu
- Avian Influenza Protecting Poultry Workers at Risk. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (December 13, 2004).
- Seasonal Flu. OSHA.
- Flu.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. One stop access to U.S. Government avian and pandemic flu information.
- Information on Avian Influenza. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).