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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2008, nearly one-third of the world's population is infected with Tuberculosis (TB), which kills almost 1.6 million people per year. TB is now the second most common cause of death from infectious disease in the world after human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). In the mid-1980s, a resurgence of outbreaks in the United States brought renewed attention to TB. An increase in high risk, immuno-suppressed individuals, particularly those infected with HIV, lead to an increase in TB cases. Drug-resistant strains of this deadly disease also contributed to the problem. However, through a broad range of Federal and community initiatives, TB rates have declined steadily. For 2010, a total of 11,182 tuberculosis (TB) cases were reported in the United States. The TB rate was 3.6 cases per 100,000 population, a decrease of 3.8% from the rate reported for 2009. More... [3 MB PDF, 166 pages]

TB is addressed in specific standards for recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses and in specific standards for the general industry.

OSHA Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards, Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to tuberculosis.

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (29 CFR 1904)

  • 1904.11, Recording criteria for work-related tuberculosis cases. States that for any employee who has been occupationally exposed to anyone with a known case of active tuberculosis, and subsequently develops a tuberculosis infection, the employer must record the case. [related topic page]

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

Federal Registers


Standard Interpretations

Hazard Recognition

Nationwide, at least several hundred workers have become infected and have required medical treatment after workplace exposure to TB. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating hazards associated with TB in the workplace.

Possible Solutions

Tuberculosis (TB) outbreaks are likely to occur in healthcare facilities, correctional institutions, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and residential care facilities for AIDS patients.

There are numerous solutions to reduce or eliminate the risks of contracting tuberculosis (TB) including the implementation of an effective control program. Solutions that may be helpful in preventing TB are early identification, isolation, and treatment of people with TB, the use of engineering and administrative procedures, and the use of respiratory protection.

The following references aid in implementing controls associated with TB in the workplace.



  • Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Health Care Facilities, 2005. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 54(RR17);1-141, (2005, December 30). Emphasizes the importance of screening, training, and educating healthcare workers to eliminate nosocomial transmission of M. tuberculosis.

  • Treatment of Tuberculosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 52(RR11);1-77, (2003, June 20). Provides recommendations intended to guide the treatment of tuberculosis in settings where mycobacterial cultures, drug susceptibility testing, radiographic facilities, and second-line drugs are routinely available.

  • TB Respiratory Protection Program In Health Care Facilities, Administrator's Guide. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-143, (1999, September). Also available as an 807 KB PDF, 120 pages. Provides a sample program, and respirator inspection record.

  • Healthcare. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.



  • Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis among Homeless Persons. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 41(RR-5);001, (1992, April 17). Contains a section on training and educating public and private healthcare providers in prevention and control of the disease.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages


Other Resources

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