Updated Employee Health and Safety for Avian Influenza Surveillance and Control Activities in Wild Bird Populations, 2014

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Office of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) have jointly released an update to the guidance document, Employee Health and Safety Guidance for Avian Influenza Surveillance and Control Activities in Wild Bird Populations. The original guidance was developed in 2006 during interagency/intra-departmental pandemic/avian influenza planning efforts.

The revised guidance reflects recent research findings and shifts in the ecology of influenza viruses. It also provides additional information related to handling birds including the need for influenza vaccinations and anti-viral medication for DOI personnel, and the need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

In addition to providing updated guidance, this serves as a reminder to DOI personnel, as well as their supervisors and managers, to be mindful of the tendency to minimize risk. This creates an environment where behaviors are accepted because they have not resulted in adverse effects to the individual in the past. Managers, supervisors and employees need to be watchful of this tendency and must implement robust management and supervisory controls to prevent this from occurring in all types of field operations. Personnel also need to be mindful of one another and correct their peers when they are engaging, or preparing to engage, in behaviors that may get them or others hurt or ill.

The guidance was updated through a joint effort of the DOI One Health Group and OSH. The DOI One Health Group is led by CDR Elaine Bond, U.S. Public Health Service Officer detailed to OEM, and consists of representatives from BIA, BLM, BOR, FWS, NPS, USGS, OEM and OEPC that encompass the group's core areas of public health, wildlife health and environmental health. The group's mission is to utilize a Department-wide interdisciplinary coordinated approach, commonly referred to as “One Health”, to promote the health of all species and the environment in the stewardship of our public lands through sound science and inter-agency collaboration to inform policy and management decisions.

If you have questions regarding this document, please contact your Bureau Safety Manager or CAPT Tim Radtke, Office of Occupational Safety and Health, at (303) 236-7128 ext. 226 or CDR Elaine Bond, Office of Emergency Management at (202) 208-5417.