Occupational Health Monitoring Program

Anyone who is in contact with research animals and/or their unfixed tissues comes under the rules of the Occupational Health Monitoring Program (OHMP). This includes investigators, research staff, maintenance staff, janitorial staff and visitors.

On this page:

Overview

The OHMP gathers information about persons involved with research animals:

  • A questionnaire about a person's health and his/her proposed activities;
  • A risk assessment by medical personnel;
  • Preventative health recommendation by the medical personnel; and
  • Additional one-on-one training when required e.g. for sheep work.

The guidelines then divide people into three categories based on the frequency of their contact with animals:

Group 1: Highest Frequency:

CMLAF staff

 

Group 2: Low to High Frequency:

Researchers and their technical staff

 

Group 3: Low Frequency:

Occasional visitors to facilities e.g. maintenance staff

 

Group 2: OHMP for Reseachers, Students and Technical Staff

Students and technical staff must enroll in the OHMP.

  1. Complete a health history form.
    • You must do this first in order to receive a card giving you access to an animal facilty.
  2. Complete a questionaire describing your proposed activities and relevant health information.
    • An occupational physician will assess the risk of your proposed activities and make recommendations for vaccines, etc. (The risk assessment is returned to the IACUC administrator.)
  3. Take training in animal care and safety

   Notes:

  • The university covers all your OHMP enrollment costs.
  • All personal health information is strictly confidential and kept on file at ECMC.  

Researcher Requirements

  1. Complete the Responsible Care and Use of Laboratory Animals Certification training program which includes a lecture on occupational risks and zoonotic diseases associated with animal research.
    1. Currently this IACUC/LAF training is a UBlearns web-based lecture program.
  2. Return to IACUC a signed checklist confirming that you have reviewed the occupational health education packet.
  3. Enroll in the OHMP and receive an assessment by medical staff of the likely risks for your proposed activities.
    1. You will need an annual risk assessment.

Rodent Users must have a current tetanus vaccination and if necessary, a fit test for respiratory protection.

  • Fit tests may be needed annually.

Dog Users must have current tetanus vaccines and a vial of frozen serum maintained for future serologic testing in the advent of exposure to certain infections.

Sheep Users must have a medical evaluation, a current tetanus vaccination, a fit test for respiratory protection and a frozen serum sample saved as a reference for future Q-fever tests.

  • Sheep users must have an annual fit test.

Notes:

  • The university covers all your OHMP enrollment costs.
  • All personal health information is strictly confidential and kept on file at ECMC.

Group 3: OHMP for Occasional Visitors to Facilities e.g. Maintenance and Janitorial Staff

This category includes people who don't work directly with animals but do work occasionally in the animal facility and/or in close proximity to the animals such as trades people and veterinary students. IACUC provides them with an occupational health education packet. UB employees and students must complete the health history form so medical personnel can perform an individual-specific risk assessment and make recommendations for their health and welfare.

In addition, a CMLAF veterinarian meets with them regarding any specific risks associated with working in sections of the facility or with a particular animal population.

Category three individuals generally can't access the high-risk areas such as dog rooms, sheep rooms and unit BSL2, unless they enroll in the OHMP and/or are accompanied by a qualified CMLAF staff member.

Use of Hazardous Agents

In regulating animal research, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee works closely with other safety and environmental groups at the university.

If researchers are using potentially hazardous agents or materials that would fall under NIH guidelines, such as infectious and cancerous agents, highly toxic chemicals or recombinant DNA molecules, then they must register their programs with the university's Biosafety Committee.

If researchers are using radioactive substances in their experiments, they must get them approved by the Department of Radiation Protection. 

The principal investigator must inform all who may be exposed to these materials and/or their hazardous degradation products, as well as letting the CM-LAF director or manager know when these projects will start. The information should include:

  • A written description of the hazards, such as material safety data sheets (MSDS);
  • Documentation of hazard specific training for research workers, support personnel and animal care workers; and
  • The posting of appropriate and standardized signs.
    • The CM-LAF will train LAF personnel and put signs on the holding room doors and animal housing as well as posting cage tags.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety Services can help with: 

  • Appropriate registration documents;
  • NIH/CDC guidelines;
  • MSDS information sheets, standardized signage and generic training; and
  • Information on establishing a chemical hygiene plan and/or a blood borne pathogen program as required by OSHA.