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Guidance on

Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic

OSHA 3327-02N 2007

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure the safety and health of America’s employees by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement inworkplace safety and health. This handbook provides a general overview of a particular topic related to OSHA standards. It does not alter or determine compliance responsibilities in OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Because interpretations and enforcement policy may change over time, you should consult current OSHA administrative interpretations and decisions by theOccupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the Courts for additional guidance on OSHA compliance requirements. This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced, fully or partially, without permission. Source credit is requested but not required. This information is available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 6931999; teletypewriter (TTY)number: (877) 889-5627.

Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

Guidance on

Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic

U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA 3327-02N 2007

Introduction . . . 3 The Difference Between Seasonal, Pandemic Influenza and Avian Influenza . . . 5 How a SeverePandemic Influenza Could Affect Workplaces . . . 7 Who Should Plan for a Pandemic . . . 8 How Influenza Can Spread Between People . . . 9 Classifying Employee Exposure to Pandemic Influenza at Work . . . 10 How to Maintain Operations During a Pandemic . . . 12 How Organizations Can Protect Their Employees . . . 16 The Difference Between a Surgical Mask and a Respirator . . . 20 Steps Every Employer CanTake to Reduce the Risk of Exposure to Pandemic Influenza in Their Workplace . . . 26 Workplaces Classified at Lower Exposure Risk (Caution) for Pandemic Influenza: What to Do to Protect Employees . . . 28 Workplaces Classified at Medium Exposure Risk for Pandemic Influenza: What to Do to Protect Employees . . . 29 Workplaces Classified at Very High or High Exposure Risk for Pandemic Influenza:What to Do to Protect Employees . . . 32 What Employees Living Abroad or Who Travel Internationally for Work Should Know . . . 35 For More Information . . . 37 OSHA Assistance . . . 38


A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, begins to cause seriousillness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide. A worldwide influenza pandemic could have a major effect on the global economy, including travel, trade, tourism, food, consumption and eventually, investment and financial markets. Planning for pandemic influenza by business and industry is essential to minimize a pandemic's impact. Companies that provide critical infrastructureservices, such as power and telecommunications, also have a special responsibility to plan for continued operation in a crisis and should plan accordingly. As with any catastrophe, having a contingency plan is essential.

This guidance is advisory in nature and informational in content. It is not a standard or a regulation, and it neither creates new legal obligations nor alters existing obligationscreated by OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). Pursuant to the OSH Act, employers must comply with hazardspecific safety and health standards as issued and enforced either by OSHA or by an OSHA-approved State Plan. In addition, Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, the General Duty Clause, requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized...
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