In this whitepaper, you will learn about OSHA's recommendations for PPE for all workers with potential exposure to avian influenza viruses.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to the Avian Influenza

General Precautions for Workers

Where PPE is concerned, OSHA recommends that all workers with potential exposure to avian influenza viruses (AIVs) should take the following precautions:

  • Use PPE as appropriate based on employer instructions for the job task(s) performed. PPE may include the following:
    • Disposable gloves or gloves capable of being disinfected.
    • Protective clothing (e.g., long-sleeved coveralls with a waterproof apron).
    • Disposable shoe covers or shoe covers that can be disinfected.
    • Safety goggles or face shields (especially if workers may be exposed to splashes or sprays to the face).
    • Respiratory protection. (If needed, at a minimum, use a NIOSH-certified N95 or higher respirator.)

Where PPE is concerned, OSHA provides the following specific guidance around control measures for Poultry Workers:

  • Wear lightweight, disposable gloves or heavy-duty rubber work gloves that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Avoid touching the face with gloved hands.
  • Select gloves appropriate for the task (e.g., using thick rather than lightweight gloves may be more appropriate for some tasks).
  • Remove gloves promptly after use and change gloves if torn, punctured, or otherwise damaged.
  • Wear disposable outer garments, coveralls, or gowns with long, cuffed sleeves, and a waterproof apron.
  • Wear disposable shoe covers or boots that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
  • Wear safety goggles and a disposable head or hair covering.
  • Wear respiratory protection (i.e., a NIOSH-certified disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirator) as part of a comprehensive respiratory protection program that includes medical exams, training, and fit testing, and that meets the requirements of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard
  • The particulate respirators recommended above are not appropriate for protection against chemicals used in disinfection activities. The OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin Avian Influenza - Protecting Poultry Workers at Risk provides a table listing the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of the five types of air-purifying respirators in order of increasing levels of protection.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also addresses PPE Recommendations for Worker Protection and Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Reduce Exposure to Novel Influenza A Viruses Associated with Severe Disease in Humans | Avian Influenza (Flu).

A summary of the CDC’s PPE recommendations includes:

  • Wear recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) when in direct contact with birds that are potentially infected with avian influenza A viruses, including poultry carcasses, poultry feces or litter, or when going into any buildings with sick or dead poultry, or carcasses, feces, or litter from poultry.
  • Put on and take off PPE in separate clean areas.
  • Recommended PPE includes: properly-fitted unvented or indirectly vented safety goggles, disposable gloves, boots or boot covers, a NIOSH-approved respirator (e.g., N95), disposable head cover or hair cover and disposable fluid-resistant coveralls. Fluid-resistant coveralls should be made of fabric that passes:
    • AATCC 42 ≤ 1 g and AATCC 127 ≥ 50 cm H2O or EN 20811 ≥ 50 cm H2O; or
    • ​​ASTM F1670 (13.8 kPa); or
    • ISO 16603 ≥ 3.5 kPA

Per OSHA, it is the responsibility of the user to assess the type of hazard, permissible limits and the risk associated with exposure and then decide on the appropriate personal protective equipment needed for each circumstance.

Please read the recommendation in its entirety for complete details and OSHA and CDC recommendations. The above is a summary only.

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