Avian Influenza

Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards, directives, and other related information that may be applicable in the event of possible worker exposure to avian influenza viruses.

There is no specific OSHA standard covering avian influenza viruses; however, 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.

There are some OSHA standards that may be applicable to certain aspects of controlling occupational exposure to avian influenza viruses. 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. If workers are exposed to human blood or other potentially infectious materials when evaluating or treating patients with suspected or confirmed avian influenza infection, or when handling laboratory specimens from these patients, the Bloodborne Pathogen standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) requirements would be applicable. In addition, 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.

Section 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:

OSHA Standards
Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (29 CFR 1904)
Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (29 CFR 1904)
Related Information

1904

Related Information
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Related Information

1910 Subpart I - Personal Protective Equipment

1910.132, General requirements.

Related Information

1910.134, Respiratory protection.

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1910 Subpart J - General Environmental Controls

1910.141, Sanitation.

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1910 Subpart K - Medical and First Aid

1910.151(c), Medical services and first aid.

Related Information

1910 Subpart Z - Toxic and Hazardous Substances

1910.1020, Access to employee exposure and medical records.

Related Information

1910.1030, Bloodborne pathogens.

Related Information

1910.1200, Hazard Communication.

Related Information
State Standards

There are 22 OSHA-approved State Plans covering both private sector and state and local government workers, and there are six State Plans covering only state and local government workers. 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.

Additional Directives

Note: 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.

Additional Letters of Interpretation

These letters provide guidance to clarify the application of an established OSHA standard, policy, or procedure, but they may not, in themselves, establish or revise OSHA policy or procedure or interpret the OSH Act. Note: The letters in this list provide additional information that is not necessarily connected to a specific OSHA standard highlighted on this Safety and Health Topics page.