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Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza - Photo Credit: CDC/Public Health Image Library
Avian Influenza Menu


This section highlights OSHA standards and directives (instructions for compliance officers) and other related information that may be applicable in the event of possible worker exposure to avian influenza viruses (AIVs).

There is no specific OSHA standard covering avian influenza (AI) or AIVs, however, there are some OSHA standards that may be applicable to certain aspects of controlling occupational exposure to AIVs. For example, requirements of OSHA's Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards (29 CFR 1910 Subpart I), for the use of gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection, may be applicable to protect workers from avian influenza. In addition, the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, 29 USC 654(a)(1), which requires employers to furnish to each worker "employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm" may be cited where uncontrolled occupational hazards are present and no other OSHA standard is applicable to address those hazards.

OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) applies to human blood and other potentially infectious material (OPIM), but does not apply to occupational exposure to AIVs in infected poultry or other animals (e.g., animals' saliva, nasal secretions, and excrement or droplets or dust made of or contaminated with these materials).

Employers must also protect their workers from exposure to chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection. Where workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals, employers must comply with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) and other applicable OSHA chemical standards. The OSHA Hospital e-Tool contains a section on Housekeeping, including information on hazardous chemicals used in hospitals and related OSHA standards.

Paragraph 11(c) of the OSH Act, 29 USC 660(c), prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for raising concerns about safety and health conditions. OSHA encourages workers who suffer such discrimination to submit a complaint to OSHA. Workers have 30 days to file their complaints.

Depending on the specific work task, setting, and exposure to other biological or chemical agents, some OSHA standards that may apply include:

Recordkeeping and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness (29 CFR 1904)
Related Information
29 CFR Part 1904 – Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness


Construction (29 CFR 1926)
Related Information
Subpart C – General Interpretations 1926.21(b)(2), Employer instruct employees in recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions
1926.28, Personal protective equipment
Subpart D – Occupational Health and Environmental Controls 1926.59, Hazard communication (See 1910.1200)
Subpart E – Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment 1926.95, Criteria for personal protective equipment
1926.102, Eye and face protection
1926.103, Respiratory protection
Basic Program Elements for Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health Programs and Related Matters (29 CFR 1960)
Related Information
29 CFR 1960 – Basic Program Elements for Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health Programs


Additional Directives

Note: The “Directives” bullets above link to directives related to each OSHA standard. The directives in this list provide additional information that is not necessarily connected to a specific OSHA standard highlighted on this Safety and Health Topics page.

State Standards

There are twenty-eight OSHA-approved State Plans, operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements.

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