Man Sneezing into tissue

NIOSH Flu-related Work

The annual direct costs, such as hospital and doctor’s office visits, medications, of influenza (flu) in the United States are an estimated $4.6 billion. The flu causes U.S. employees to miss approximately 17 million workdays due to flu, at an estimated $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity.

To lessen flu risks at work, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) does surveillance, Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs), and research.

  • Surveillance helps detect the flu earlier, and by analyzing data and monitoring trends, it shows what efforts best prevent the flu.
  • The HHE program responds to requests from employers, employees, and union representatives to evaluate work-related issues that involve the flu. HHE reports help identify ways to reduce worker risks.
  • Research topics, such as how the flu spreads and respiratory protection, lead to more knowledge about workplace issues involving the flu.

These NIOSH activities relate to the safety and health of workers who could be exposed to seasonal flu:

NIOSH Activities


* NA, Ortega-Sanchez IR, Messonnier ML, Thompson WW, Wortley PM, Weintraub E, Bridges CB. The annual impact of seasonal influenza in the US: measuring disease burden and costs. Vaccine 2007;25(27):5086–5096.

Page last reviewed: March 28, 2018