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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

Enrollment into the program is done by using forms to assess personal risks and by completing online training. Personnel with frequent or substantial contact have a higher potential of adverse health effects and must participate in all components of the program (1. Risk Assessment, 2. Health Screening Questionnaire, and 3. OHS Training that includes 4. Animal Allergy Training). Other personnel with less contact may have modified requirements, depending on the risk for adverse health effects.

Personnel Exposure Risk Assessment Form Health Screening Questionnaire OHS Training Module Animal Allergy Training
Faculty, staff, and students working with animals or in animal facilities REQUIRED REQUIRED REQUIRED REQUIRED
University staff needing occasional access to animal facilities but not working with animals REQUIRED DETERMINED BY RISK DETERMINED BY RISK DETERMINED BY RISK

Animal Allergy Training is required for personnel listed on animal use protocols unless their only exposure to animals is in wildlife studies or involves only reptiles, amphibians, or fish. The online protocol system automatically sets the exemptions.

The Risk Assessment Form will help evaluate the possible health risks due to animal exposures and occupational hazards. Risk Assessment Forms must be updated if exposures have changed due to a change in research and/or employment.

The Health Screening Questionnaire helps identify additional risks of an individual basis. For example, participants who are immunocompromised or are pregnant may have additional exposure risks. The Questionnaire 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. The Health Screening Questionnaire must be updated if a person's health status changes.

The OHS 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.

Persons who have not completed these requirements will not be allowed to use or care for animals or perform work in animal facilities.

OHS Factsheets

Zoonoses

Safety and Health

Contact Information

Sara Myers
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
(217) 244-0781
sjmyers@illinois.edu

Dr. Robert Woodward
Medical Reviewer
rtwoodwa@illinois.edu

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