This TIB is not a new standard or regulation and it creates no new legal obligations. It is advisory in nature, informational in content, and is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.
OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support (DTS) issues Technical Information Bulletins (TIBs) to provide information about occupational hazards and /or to provide information about noteworthy, innovative, or specialized procedures, practices and research that relate to occupational safety and health. DTS selects topics for TIBs from recognized scientific, industrial hygiene, labor, industry, engineering, and/or medical sources.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with hazard-specific safety and health standards. In addition, employers must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm under Section 5(a)(1), the General Duty Clause of the Act. Employers can be cited for violating the General Duty Clause if there is a recognized hazard and they do not take appropriate steps to prevent or abate the hazard. However, the failure to implement TIB recommendations is not, in itself, a violation of the General Duty Clause. Citations can only be based on standards, regulations, and the General Duty Clause.
Further information about this bulletin may be obtained by contacting OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (formerly Directorate of Technical Support) at 202-693-2300.
The purpose of this Safety and Health Information Bulletin is to:
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of U.S. residents traveling to countries where they are at risk of contracting infectious diseases.1 Depending on the country visited, travelers are potentially exposed to hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, malaria, meningococcal disease, yellow fever, cholera, poliomyelitis, encephalitis, rabies, and other diseases.
In 2000, 35% of international travel by U.S. residents was work-related.1 These travelers incur the risk of exposure to infectious disease as an occupational hazard. Many of these workers may be receiving inadequate disease prevention information and medical prophylaxis. For example, 7 to 8 million U.S. residents travel annually to countries where malaria is present. In 1998, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 636 cases of malaria in returning U.S. civilian travelers. CDC has data for 584 of these cases: 59% had not taken any preventive medication and 13% had been prescribed a drug not recommended for the area to which they were traveling.2 Hepatitis A is another disease where prevention is possible. Travelers who visit developing countries are considered high-risk for hepatitis A, the most common vaccine-preventable disease in travelers.3
The failure of travelers to receive preventive medication results in unnecessary illness, medical expense, and the potential spread of contagious diseases within their local communities. For this reason, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, includes in its prevention agenda Healthy People 2010, the developmental objective to:
Increase the proportion of international travelers who receive recommended preventive services when traveling in areas of risk for select infectious diseases: hepatitis A, malaria, and typhoid.4
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed detailed and specific travel health information including recommendations for preventive measures and immunizations for U.S. residents traveling abroad. Many diseases could be avoided by implementing these recommendations which appear in CDC's publication Health Information for International Travel and on their website www.cdc.gov/travel. The information is organized by geographic regions. Each entry contains these topics specific to the region:
Depending on destinations, travelers may need an International Certificate of Vaccination to prove immunization for yellow fever. In the United States, vaccine is obtained from Yellow Fever Vaccine Centers designated by state health departments. This CDC website www.cdc.gov/travel/yfever.htm provides information about yellow fever vaccination requirements.5
The U.S. Department of State prepares a Consular Information Sheet for every country, Public Announcements, Travel Warnings, and Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad. This information is available at http://travel.state.gov/. The State Department also offers the pamphlets "Your Trip Abroad", "A Safe Trip Abroad," and "Tips for Americans Residing Abroad."
1 U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Tourism Industries, http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/cat/f-2000-101-001.html
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/hav.htm
4 Public Health Service, Healthy People 2010, www.health.gov/healthypeople/document/html/objectives/14-15.htm
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/travel/yfever.htm
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