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Workplace Safety and the Flu

This page includes information for workers and employers about how to reduce the spread of the flu in workplaces. It provides information on the basic precautions that should be used in all workplaces and the additional precautions that should be used in healthcare settings. Workers who perform certain types of healthcare tasks for patients who may have the flu may be at a higher risk for exposure to the flu virus; additional precautions are needed. Some of these healthcare tasks include direct patient care; aerosol-generating procedures; specimen analysis; and other patient support, like dietary and housekeeping services. These tasks can be performed in different settings such as inpatient and outpatient healthcare facilities; home healthcare settings; and health services facilities in schools, industrial workplaces, or correctional institutions. If you are or employ one of these workers, select "Healthcare" above. If not, then select "Other Workplaces." HHS/CDC has also updated its guidance for protecting healthcare workers from seasonal flu.

The 2013-2014 seasonal flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season.

Pandemic flu remains a concern for employers and workers. A pandemic can occur at any time and can be mild, moderate, or severe. The pandemic flu in 2009 was considered by HHS/CDC to be mild but still created challenges for employers and workers and showed that many workplaces were not prepared. The precautions identified in the resources below give a baseline for infection controls during a seasonal flu outbreak, but may not be enough to protect workers during a pandemic. For additional information on pandemic flu planning, see the OSHA webpage on pandemic flu.

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