Avian Influenza

Standards

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:

OSHA Standards
Recordkeeping and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness (29 CFR 1904)
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1904

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General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
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1910 Subpart I - Personal Protective Equipment

1910.132, General requirements.

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1910.133, Eye and face protection.

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1910.134, Respiratory Protection.

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1910.138, Hand 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.

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1910 Subpart Z - Toxic and Hazardous Substances

1910.1020, Access to employee exposure and medical records.

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1910.1030, Bloodborne pathogens.

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1910.1200, Hazard Communication.

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Construction (29 CFR 1926)
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1926 Subpart C - General Safety and Health Provisions

1926.21, Safety training and education. See paragraph (b)(2) for information on employer instruct employees in recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.

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1926.28, Personal protective equipment.

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1926 Subpart D

1926.59, Hazard Communication. (See 1910.1200)

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1926 Subpart E - Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment

1926.95, Criteria for personal protective equipment.

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1926.102, Eye and face protection.

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1926.103, Respiratory protection.

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Basic Program Elements for Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health Programs and Related Matters (29 CFR 1960)
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1960

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State Standards

There are 28 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.

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

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.