Ebola In The Workplace

Employers with workers who may be exposed to the Ebola virus should develop a comprehensive worker protection program. Although OSHA has not provided final guidelines for the Ebola virus, employers need to likely comply with various existing standards. OSHA’s Blood Borne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) covers exposure to the Ebola virus. Further, where workers may be exposed to bio-aerosols containing the Ebola virus, employers should follow OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard in 29 CFR 1910.134. Employers should also follow recognized and generally accepted contact-transmissible disease practices under the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Standard found in 29 CFR 1910.132. All employers should educate employees about the hazards to which they are exposed and provide reasonable means by which to abate such hazards. In this regard, employers should comply with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard found in 29 CFR 1910.1200. While the hazard communication standard does not directly apply to the Ebola virus, employers may be required to comply with the standard when chemicals are used for cleaning and disinfecting the work environment. Employers should follow current public health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as OSHA. Click here to view OSHA’s Ebola Safety and Health Topics page.  If you have any question regarding the OSHA standards and infectious disease, please contact a member of our Labor & Employment Section.


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