General University Reference Utility
Policy SY23 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAM FOR ANIMAL CARE
Policy Steward: Director of Environmental Health and Safety
To provide a safe work place and to comply with regulatory mandates for
animal care personnel. These personnel may, in the course of their employment,
research or education, be exposed to vertebrate animals and/or tissues, fluids,
secretions, and excretions in a way that puts them at increased risk of an
occupational illness or injury. Occupational Health Services (OHS) and
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) administer the Occupational Health and
Safety Program (OHSP), in cooperation with the Office for Research Protections
(ORP) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
This policy applies to animal care personnel at all locations of The
Pennsylvania State University (except the Hershey Medical Center).
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, latest
edition (Institute for Laboratory Animal Resources), Occupational Health and
Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals (NRC) and the Guide for
the Care and use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Experimentation and
Teaching, latest edition (Federation of Animal Science Societies) describe
the requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety program.
This policy applies to any University employee (faculty, staff, and
student, both wage payroll and work-study), volunteer, or visitor who works
with vertebrate animals and/or tissues, fluids, secretions, and excretions from
vertebrates. The policy also applies to those who handle cages and related
equipment contaminated by animal tissues, secretions, and/or excretions.
Participation in the Occupational Health and Safety Program is not
required for students whose only exposure to animals is in a classroom setting.
However, the instructor must inform the students about any health risks
associated with the species with which they will be working. For example,
students working with birds in a classroom setting shall be informed about
psittacosis; students working with sheep shall be informed about Q fever.
Instructors are responsible for providing this information.
Volunteers and students are required to follow all safe work practices
and visitors must be made aware of animal-related hazards before they enter the
premises. Facility supervisors are responsible for providing this information.
A risk-based assessment of all persons involved in animal care is
conducted to determine their level of participation in the Occupational Health
and Safety Program. This assessment considers the nature and duration of
exposure, hazards posed by the animals and materials used, and susceptibility
of personnel. This assessment includes a review of information provided on the
completed Animal Worker Questionnaire by EHS and OHS staff and on-site
evaluations by EHS staff to evaluate work practices, use of personal protective
equipment, and other safety-related factors associated with animal care
All persons involved in animal care and service shall participate in the
Occupational Health and Safety Program. This program includes an assessment of
risks associated with the employee's (employee in this context refers to any
person involved in the care of animals or research utilizing animals, as
outlined in the Applicability: section above)
animal-related duties and types of animals involved and their working
conditions, as well as an assessment of their potential medical predisposition
to animal related health risks. Preventive medical procedures and health
monitoring tailored to the employee's risks, training in animal health related
issues, and implementation of appropriate safety measures is also included to
help minimize risks.
- Budget Executives and Budget Administrators shall ensure that all
supervisors enroll all regular employees and student employees who are
identified as "at risk" in the Occupational Health and Safety Program. In
addition, they shall ensure that job descriptions accurately reflect the types
of animal-related activities expected of the employee, the animal species with
which the employee will have direct or indirect contact and conditions in the
job that may affect the health of the employee. Performance of these functions
will ensure compliance with applicable state and federal health and safety
rules, regulations, standards, and procedures.
- Supervisors (department chairs, faculty and other employees with
direct oversight of University employees or students) will ensure that each
employee under their supervision who is identified as "at risk" will
participate in the Occupational Health and Safety Program.
employees who are at risk will be offered an initial baseline occupational
health exam, and will also be offered periodic medical surveillance, as
prescribed by OHS. Any employee who chooses not to participate in this program
must sign a declination statement.
- The ORP is responsible for ensuring that individuals who have direct
or indirect contact with animals used for research, teaching, or demonstrations
are enrolled in the Occupational Health and Safety Program. ORP will coordinate
transfer of information between OHS, EHS, and the IACUC, which is responsible
for ensuring an appropriate Occupational Health program is in place and for
conducting a review of the program as it pertains to animal use. The IACUC
requires that all employees (faculty, staff, student employees) who are
associated with a research or teaching activity involving animals are enrolled
in the Program before approving their participation in the activity. All Penn
State University individuals listed on an IACUC application will be required to
complete the Animal Worker Questionnaire and Occupational Health Education
Certification. ORP will maintain training records and all Animal Worker
Questionnaires and Occupational Health Education Certifications.
- EHS will review the Animal Worker Questionnaire completed by the
animal worker. EHS will conduct appropriate evaluations, discussions, and/or
site visits to ensure appropriate health and safety practices are in-place.
Recommendations for occupational health and safety will be provided to the
Supervisor/Principal Investigator, Unit Safety Officer, ORP and IACUC Chair,
for implementation by the responsible animal resource director, principal
investigator or supervisor. The completed Questionnaire and recommendations
will be forwarded to OHS for further review.
EHS will maintain training
records for individuals attending risk-specific training provided by EHS
- OHS will review the employee's Animal Worker Questionnaire, medical
history and the risk assessment provided by EHS to ensure the appropriate level
of risk associated with the animal contact and use and the medical suitability
of the employee for the demands of the position. OHS will prescribe
risk-specific preventive measures, health monitoring to reduce animal related
risk, and maintain all employee medical records. OHS shall also alert employee
and supervisors to extraordinary animal-related risks due to medical
conditions. OHS will forward the completed form with recommendations to the
supervisor and ORP.
Medical histories, physical examinations,
immunizations and laboratory tests may be required at periodic intervals, as
determined by OHS.
- Employees, students and visitors shall report all unsafe conditions,
practices or equipment to the supervisor, instructor or Safety Officer whenever
deficiencies are noted.
All individuals working with vertebrate animals shall participate in an
on-line training program through ORP. Individuals identified through the
Occupational Health and Safety Program as "at risk" shall also attend
supplemental risk-specific training.
The IACUC, through its responsibilities listed above, will ensure
enforcement of this policy. Research or teaching activities that involve
individuals who are at increased risk but who are not enrolled in the
Occupational Health and Safety Program may be interrupted or terminated at the
discretion of the Committee.
REPORTING AND TREATMENT OF ILLNESSES, INJURIES OR
- All injuries, illnesses or accidents shall be reported immediately to
the employee's supervisor in accordance with policy
SY03 (students) or
SY04 (employees). Injuries or illnesses that
occur in visitors or volunteers shall be reported in accordance with
- Persons injured on the job at University Park during normal business
hours must report to the Occupational Health Services, 3rd floor Centre Medical
Sciences Building, 1850 E. Park Avenue. After hours, persons with job-related
injuries that require immediate medical attention should report to the nearest
emergency room. Job-related injuries that occur after hours, and that do not
require immediate medical attention should be reported within 24 hours to OHS.
Those who are injured at other University campuses should seek medical care
from the designated health care provider as directed by OHS.
- All employee, student or visitor accidents, injuries or illnesses
will be investigated promptly by the supervisor. Appropriate corrective
measures to prevent reoccurrence shall be implemented.
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.
Other Policies in this Manual should also be referenced, especially:
RA15 - Care and Use of Vertebrate
SY01 - Environmental Health &
SY03 - Emergencies Involving
SY04 - Employee Accidents - Reporting
SY05 - Persons, Other Than Students
or Employees, Who Are Injured or Become Ill on University Property
SY24 - Use of Biohazardous Materials
in Research and Instruction
Effective Date: July 17, 2003
Date Approved: July 2, 2003
Published: July 17, 2003
(Editorial changes- June 18, 2014)
Most Recent Changes:
- June 18, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
Revision History (and effective dates):
- July 2, 2003 - Editorial changes: "Office for Regulatory Compliance (ORC)" changed
to "Office for Research Protections (ORP)." Address for Occupational Health
Services was changed.
- April 11, 2002 - New Policy.