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Occupational Health and Safety Programs (OHS)

Occupational Health and Safety Programs (OHS)

Many risks are associated with exposure to research and teaching animals: allergic reactions, scratches, bites, and zoonoses. The goal of the Animal Care and Use Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program is to identify risks, implement safety controls, and provide training to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for personnel having direct or indirect contact with research and teaching animals.

OHS organizes mandatory training programs for principal investigators, research staff, animal care staff, veterinarians, maintenance and service workers, student employees using or caring for animals, and other university staff needing access into animal facilities.

Program Requirements

To comply with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, all persons with direct or indirect exposure to research and teaching animals must be enrolled in the Occupational Health and Safety Program.
Participants include:

  • Principal Investigators
  • Research Staff
  • Animal Care Staff
  • Veterinarians
  • Maintenance and Service Workers
  • Student Employees using or caring for animals
  • Other Illinois Staff accessing animal facilities

Program enrollment is done by completing the OHS Training Module and the Animal Care and Use Risk Assessment Form. The training module reviews basic health and safety information you need to be aware of while working in an animal facility. The training must be renewed every three years. The risk assessment form will help evaluate the possible health risks due to animal exposures and occupational hazards. Risk Assessments Forms must be updated if exposures have changed due to change in research and/or employment. Persons whom have not completed these requirements will not be allowed to use or care for animals or perform work in animal facilities.
Completion of the Health Screening Questionnaire is strongly encouraged for all participants. By completing the health screening questionnaire, additional risks may be identified on an individual basis. For example, participants who are immunocompromised or are pregnant may have additional exposure risks. This form is confidentially reviewed by the Animal Care and Use Program Medical Reviewer and any correspondence directed back to the participant is communicated directly through the Medical Reviewer.

OHS Factsheets


Safety and Health

Contact Information

Sara Myers
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
(217) 244-0781

Dr. Robert Woodward
Medical Reviewer

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